1 ready-roasted/rotisseried chicken (it helps if it’s still warm, as this makes it easier to strip away the flesh)
6 medium leeks (500 g, after trimming)
4 large carrots, peeled
2½ litres boiling water
2 bay leaves
a few parsley stalks
freshly milled black pepper
2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil or butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 small head of cauliflower (500 g), trimmed and broken into florets
4 Tbsp (60 ml) cream
½ tsp (2.5 ml) turmeric
½ tsp (2.5 ml) cumin
½ tsp (2.5 ml) mild curry powder
½ tsp (2.5 ml) chilli powder
a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
finely chopped or sliced fresh red chillies [optional]
fresh parsley or coriander
Tear all the flesh away from the chicken; pull it into large shreds, place in a bowl and cover. (If you like chicken skin, cut away the breasts whole and slice diagonally into strips so each piece has a covering of golden skin). Put all the skin and bones into a large pot. Scrape out any golden-brown jelly or juices that have collected in the chicken’s packet and add to the pot. Turn on the heat and gently fry the bones and skin for a minute or two.
Prepare the leeks by trimming off the dark-green upper parts and making a long horizontal slit three-quarters of the way through their lengths. Fan out the ‘pages’ of the leeks under a cold running tap and rinse away any grit hiding in the outer leaves. Set aside.
Add one leek and one carrot, each cut into thirds, to the pot, and pour in 2½ litres boiling water. Now add the cloves, bay leaves and parsley stalks and season generously with milled black pepper.
Bring the stock to a fast boil, skimming off any foam as it rises, cover with a tilted lid and cook over a medium heat for 30 minutes, or until the carrot pieces are very soft. Turn off the heat and let it sit for five minutes. Using a large spoon, lift away and discard any fat.
While the stock is boiling, slice the remaining leeks and carrots. Heat the oil or butter in a separate large pot (I use my wok) and gently sauté the veggies for about 4 minutes, or until the leeks are just beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Now place the cauliflower florets on top of the leeks and carrots, and add 4 ladles of boiling stock from the other pot. (It’s okay if the cauliflower is poking up above the water line – the steam inside the pot will cook it.) Cover with a lid and simmer at a brisk bubble for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are very soft.
Remove the lid from the pot containing the veggies and place a colander on top. Pour the hot stock through the colander and press down on the bones with the back of a spoon. Retrieve the carrot and leek pieces from the colander and add them to the soup.
If your second pot isn’t very big, you can pour everything back into the rinsed-out pot in which you made the stock.
Blitz to a fine purée using a stick blender or liquidiser. If the soup is too thick, thin it to the desired consistency with hot water. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stir in the cream, turmeric, cumin, curry powder, chilli powder and nutmeg, and simmer for 5 minutes. Now add the chicken strips – reserving some for the garnish – and cook over a gentle heat for another few minutes, or until the chicken has heated through.
Serve with finely chopped red chilli, plenty of milled black pepper and a scattering of parsley or coriander.
Michael’s wine recommendation – click here
Jane-Anne Hobbs is a food writer de luxe. Recipe developer and photographer, she has written a stunning cookbook Scrumptious, click here to read my review. Always on the look out for low carb dishes, she has latterly come up with some stunners, and this is one of them.
CLICK HERE to go to her website.