Feel good chicken broth

When I was young and felt unwell with a cold or a headache, my mum would make this soup to help me feel better. It used to make me feel like a million dollars after I'd eaten it. It's probably one of the simplest soups to make because it just involves slowly boiling a whole chicken in a pot with a few roughly chopped root veg. The fat marbles on top during cooking, but underneath it is nice and clear, like a consommé. Like consommé, if you want to serve this at a dinner party or you want to vary its flavour, the actual soup will always stay the same but the garnish that you add can differ from mushrooms, to florets of cauliflower, to julienned veg. Another nice thing you can do is add a splash of sherry or port just before serving to give it a little twang. All these things are great to try, but I just really like my mum's simple chicken broth. Her secret ingredient was a rasher of smoked bacon, and sometimes she'd add a few sprigs of rosemary for the last ten minutes.

Nutritional Information (amount per serving)

2.6 g

Serves 6   Approx time: 90   Difficulty: super easy


  • 1.5 kg higher-welfare chicken
  • 2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 rasher higher-welfare smoked bacon
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 handful shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 splash sherry or port, optional
  • sea salt
  • extra virgin olive oil


Put your chicken, carrot, celery and bacon in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer slowly for an hour and a quarter, skimming the white residue off the top every now and again. Add your rosemary sprigs, shitake mushrooms and sherry (if you are using it) for the last 10 minutes, then remove the chicken from the pan. It should be perfectly cooked, and will be great for salads or sandwiches or for tearing into slivers to put into the soup. Season the soup with salt and ladle it through a sieve into bowls, trying not to disrupt it too much as you want to keep it reasonably clear. Add the chicken slivers and a few mushrooms to each bowl and drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil. The finished thing should be a kinda clear consommé.

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