Chicken, borlotti and cranberry soup

I had some chicken left over from a roast we had the other day and I was trying to think of something to do with it.  I had a can of borlotti beans in the cupboard, a swede and some cranberries I bought when they were on special offer the other day, so this soup seemed like the thing we should have for tea.  It was tasty and the cranberries added an interesting colour and a zingy bitterness that added and interesting and good dimension to the soup.  If you have celery or carrots in the house then add some of these; I didn’t have any in the cupboard.

I served it with parmesan croutons which are very easy to make.  Just cube some bread and place on a baking tray with a light sprinkling of olive oil.  Place in a preheated oven at 200°c (400°f, gas mark 6) for about 7-8 minutes until golden all over.  As soon as they come out of the oven finely grate some parmesan over them so that it melts on contact.

1 onion, sliced finely
100g swede, diced
splash of Marsala or Madeira wine (optional)
1 dessertspoon plain flour
the leftover meat from a roast chicken ( I had two drumsticks left over for this soup)
400g tin of borlotti beans, drained and rinsed (or any other pulses you may have)
a handful of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
570 ml (1 pint) vegetable or chicken stock
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper


Sweat the onion and swede for about 10 minutes until the onion is translucent and the swede is beginning to take on a little colour. Add the flour and mix well, cook for a minute or so to cook out the taste of the flour.  Add a splash of Marsala if you are using it.  Add the stock and stir well to mix it with the flour. Add the rest of the ingredients except the salt (adding salt will make the bean tough). Cook for about 15-20 minutes on a gentle simmer.  Add salt to taste just before serving.  Serve in warmed bowls with the parmesan croutons or fresh bread.

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Chicken Bombe

chicken bombe

This recipe is one that my mum often makes.  I will be making it this weekend for my daughter’s fifth birthday party.  Her birthday parties offer us a chance to gather both adults and children and this year we are expecting the usual 60 odd people.  I keep promising myself that I will one year do a birthday tea for her and five friends, but any excuse for a party…
(The pic above is the one I cooked for the party, using twelve rashers of bacon, six sausages and six chicken breasts – 4 on the bottom and 2 on top.  I cooked it for 2¼ hours)
Mum’s Chicken Bombe
This is a really delicious combination. It makes a lovely sunday roast and any left over slices beautifully when cold for sandwiches in the week. It’s chicken, stuffed with sausage meat and sage and onion stuffing and then wrapped in bacon.
4 chicken breasts
4 sausages
6-8 rashers of middle bacon
Breadcrumbs (2-3 thick slices)
1 onion
1 dessertspoon dried sage or about 8 fresh leaves
1 egg
salt and pepper

Kitchen string 4 long lengths
Make the stuffing by placing all of the stuffing ingredients in a food processor and process until combined.
Lay the string horizontally on a board and lay the bacon rashers vertically on top of the string.  Place two chicken breasts on top of the bacon.  Squeeze the sausage meat out of the skins and spread evenly over the chicken and spread the stuffing evenly on top of the sausage meat.  Place the remaining two chicken breasts on top and then bring the bacon rashers up over the chicken trying to cover it all and secure by wrapping the string over and tying securely.

Place onto a roasting tray and sprinkle with olive oil.  Roast in a preheated oven at 180°c (350°f, Gas Mark 4) for 1½hour.  Check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked by piercing with a skewer and if the juices run clear then it’s cooked.

Leave to rest for 15 mins before slicing if serving hot and if serving cold then leave to cool and refrigerate until ready to slice.  You can make it a day ahead.

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