Butternut & Coriander Soup with Shredded Chicken

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Winter is coming and it demands warm, comforting food. Both butternut and chicken are classic soup fare, so it’s no surprise that they go well together in this recipe. Normally I hate bits of anything in soup, but here the tender pieces of chicken make the soup feel more like a proper meal…I think it’s the combination of meat and veggies that do it for me. The ginger and coriander take it to the next taste level, with a slight Asian feel – even the biggest soup skeptics (such as myself) will be on board. As always, I strongly suggest serving soup with something crunchy – toasted ciabatta slices or croutons work particularly well here. YUM.

Butternut & Coriander Soup with Shredded Chicken

500g butternut cubes/rounds
250g cauliflower
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped
0.5 tblsp grated ginger
1 cup milk
2 chicken stock cubes/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup orange juice
8g fresh coriander
400g chicken breast fillets

The shredded chicken is the secret to this recipe. This is the BEST way to prepare chicken. Add enough water to a saucepan so that it’s deep enough to cover a chicken breast fillet. Add 2 stock cubes and a glug of soy sauce (if you have it) to the water, and bring it to a rapid boil. Slice though each chicken fillet horizontally, so that each fillet is half as thick as it was originally. Once the water is boiling rapidly, put all the fillets in the water, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. Check the time, and remove them onto a cutting board after 20 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, chop the onion and garlic and prep the butternut. If you’ve bought already-chopped butternut in a bag, cut a small slit in the bag and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes until starting to brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add the cauliflower (fresh or frozen – I use frozen because I’m lazy and it’s easy) and butternut cubes/rounds and mix everything together. Once the chicken has been removed from the saucepan, add 2 cups of the stock water and the milk to the butternut mix. Simmer for 10-15 minutes (if you’ve already microwaved the butternut) or 30 minutes (if the butternut is raw) until the veggies are nice and soft. Blend the soup to a smooth puree with a stick blender, and then add the orange juice and salt and pepper to taste. Shred the chicken (which will be really moist and flavourful, like roast chicken) with two forks, and add most of it to the soup, reserving a few pieces for garnish. Do the same with the chopped coriander leaves. Serve with croutons or bruschettas.

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