Being in hospital is no fun. But coming home can also be a (literal) pain. Especially when you’re away from family. My friend and fellow ex-pat is coming home from hospital tomorrow and I’m the Responsible Adult picking her up. I take this role very seriously, and have prepared a little care package for her first night back home. Unexpected food gifts are always received with delight, which makes cooking them even more special.
The key ingredients for a spectacular (or at least comfortable) recovery are:
- Chicken soup – Chicken soup for a sick person? I know – not revolutionary, but it’s warm, full of protein, easy to digest and makes you feel like your mum is around even if she isn’t.
- Bread – CARBS! Close friends will attest to my craving for KFC chips when I’m sick (the shame!). But a fresh mini baguette will also provide the carb comfort required and help mop up the last of the soup.
- Chocolate – The very definition of comfort. Especially Australian chocolate for this homesick Sydney-sider.
- Magazines – A good supply of glossies keeps the mind focussed on beautiful things, and provides an alternative should the end of the Netflix queue ever be reached.
This chicken soup recipe is a good one. It’s really chickeny, naturally, but it also has a warmth and depth of flavour thanks to the cumin, coriander seed and cinnamon. The chickpeas stand in for the more traditional noodles, and give a very satisfying bite to the soup.
Chicken and Chickpea Soup
(Adapted from Everyday Food Magazine, 2009)
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 large brown onion, diced
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 medium carrots, cut into rounds
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 can (400g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken and cook till light brown on both sides.
- Pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pot. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons garlic and spices; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in carrots and return chicken to pot. Stir in broth.
- Bring to a boil. Reduce to a medium simmer, partially cover, and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken from soup. Shred chicken with two forks. Return meat to pot. Add chickpeas and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. In a small bowl, stir together 1 teaspoon garlic, lemon zest, and parsley; sprinkle over soup before serving.