“There is no dignity
quite so impressive,
and no independence
quite so important,
as living within your means.”
~ Calvin Coolidge
I lived on this soup when I was a university student, back in my sharehouse days, and then again when I bought my first house and every spare cent went on the mortgage repayments.
I used to make this soup because it was yummy, filling and cheap.
Then I began to make it because it was yummy, filling and so easy to prepare from just a few frugal ingredients – great when I was busy and time poor.
Then I made it because it was wholesome and health-promoting, and even on my worst health days I managed to be able to put the ingredients into a pot somehow.
This is a hearty soup, and by the end of cooking the meat will be falling off the bones, and the bones will have given all their goodness to the broth. This is the fastest way I know to make a bone broth!
Over the years it has become an important recipe in my kitchen. It’s one of the soups I’ve made in bulk and frozen, for Ben to reheat for me when I come home from hospital. It’s easy enough that when we run out of frozen soup, Ben will have no trouble in whipping up a fresh batch for me as I talk him through it.
Let me show you how easy it is, so that you can make it too.
750g to 1kg chicken wings, 1 large onion, 2 large carrots, 1 large potato, 3 cloves of garlic, a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of vinegar, 2 large sticks of celery, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 chicken stock cube or one teaspoon of stock powder, 2 litres of water, 1 cob of fresh corn (optional but really good!), fresh parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper
* Note – organic chicken wings, like all chicken wings, are always heaps cheaper than the more expensive cuts of chicken! o if you’re going organic, this is a budget friendly way to do so.
If you have other vegetables you’d like to throw into the soup, go right ahead. It’s a very accommodating recipe.
Using a sharp knife cut the wings into thirds. If you’re lucky you may even be able to purchase your chicken wings already chopped into these smaller portions. (I always put the very ends of the wing tips aside to feed to my dogs as a treat, or to go into my stock pot for later.)
Place a slug of oil in the bottom of a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Brown the wings until they are still raw, but have taken on a nice golden colour. You may need to do this in batches. Remove wings from pot and set aside.
While the wings are browning, chop your onion, celery and carrot into a small dice. Mince the garlic or chop finely. Cut the potato into slightly larger chunks so that it doesn’t fall apart in your soup.
Place the onion, carrot, celery and garlic into the pan and stir on medium heat for a few minutes until they are fragrant and beginning to brown slightly.
Add the chicken pieces, bay leaves, potato, and oregano into the pot and then pour the water over. Add a grind of pepper, a pinch of salt, your stock cube or powder, and a squeeze of lemon juice (or a dash of vinegar – about a tablespoon is good).
It won’t look very exciting yet. It takes time for the magic to happen!
Bring to the boil, stir, and then turn the heat down until the liquid is simmering on a very slow boil. You still want to be able to see some action in the pot. Don’t turn it down so low that nothing is happening! Place a lid on the soup but make sure it is vented. I usually place my lid cocked on the rim, so that it is partially covered but steam can still escape easily and the liquid will reduce a little.
If you want you can vent your lid like this:
Or, leave the lid off, but watch your soup so that the liquid level doesn’t drop too low. If it does, no drama. Just add a bit more water.
Leave the soup to simmer for about two hours. Do check it occasionally in case you need to stir it or add a little more water. About ten minutes before serving use a sharp knife to cut the kernels from the cob of corn. Add the corn and freshly chopped parsley to the soup. Let this cook for ten minutes and then taste. Adjust the seasoning by adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Another little squeeze of lemon juice can also really lift the flavour.
Ladle into bowls and enjoy.