Throw chicken, leeks and potatoes into a pot, add water and boil. No meal can be easier than this.
"Picture provided by SPH"
My son sent me a frantic e-mail message the other day. He asked: “What can I cook
in one pot that does not take too much trouble?”
Why, that old favourite, chicken with leeks and potato soup of course, I replied. It so happened that I had a pot on the boil. It is a perfect meal when I am on the move and want something comforting to come home to. It calls for just three main ingredients, which I simply boil. How difficult is that?
I used a couple of chicken thighs, one leek and two potatoes. I threw them into a pot, added water and an hour later, I had dinner. Best of all, it is healthy (if you skim the soup), sweet and flavourful, thanks to the leeks. The potato bulks up the soup, so all you need is a bowl for dinner. I cooked it one cool rainy night for warm comfort.
There are other good things to be found in this soup. First, about the chicken stock. Made with thigh meat rather than bones, it ensures that the soup has a richer, fuller flavour. I prepared the stock the night before, then left it in the fridge overnight for the fat to solidify. This can then be easily removed the next day. I have since discovered that apart from it being healthier, removing the fat enhances the soup, as leaving it in will mask the flavour of the chicken.
This I learnt from none other than the famed Hong Kong chef Yeung Koon Yat, better known as the Abalone King. He also told me that the flesh of the chicken, not just the bones, should be used when making the stock for a sweeter result. Secondly, the leeks and potatoes (unpeeled, please) contribute vitamin C, carbohydrates, lots of fibre and some minerals as well as flavour and sweetness to the soup. No wonder the three
ingredients are used in many traditional recipes around the world.
However, unlike many of these recipes, I did not bother with browning the ingredients first, as I wanted a cleaner taste. Another point to note with the leeks: As I like the greens to look fresh, I divided the sliced leeks into two portions. I added the paler lot first to
deliver its unctuous flavour to the soup. Then I added the greener lot later, so that the soup still looked fresh and green.
Chicken leek and potato soup
- 3-4 skinless chicken thighs
- 2 leeks
- 4 washed potatoes (available at supermarkets)
- Water to cover
- 1 tsp salt
- Pepper to taste
- Trim any obvious fat from the chicken and place the chicken in a
pot. Cover with water and bring to the boil.
- Cool it and place the pot in the fridge to chill overnight. The next
morning, remove the layer of fat that would have formed on top.
- Slice leeks lengthwise from top to bottom and rinse them thoroughly
under a running tap to remove the dirt.
- Slice thinly and divide into light and green piles.
- Rinse washed potatoes and, with the skin on, cut them into pieces.
- Add the potatoes to the pot and return to the boil. Add the white part
of the leeks and simmer till they turn soft.
- Remove the chicken thighs. When cool, shred the meat and discard
the bones. Return the meat to the pot when ready to serve, add the
green part of the leeks and allow them to wilt.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.