Rodney Bowers' Delicious Middle Eastern Chicken Soup

By Rodney Bowers
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A delicious and filling soup that's the perfect choice for lunch. 



For the chicken broth:

  • 1 whole 1-2 kilogram organic chicken
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 litres water, as needed

For the middle eastern chicken soup:

  • 1 cup bulger
  • 1/2 cup fine sliced leek or green onion
  • 2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups kale, finely shredded
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup parsley, fine chopped
  • All the stock and half the shredded meat from the basic chicken soup recipe
  • Sea salt to taste

For the walnut parsley pesto:

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup parsley (flat leaves)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt


For the broth:

  1. Rinse the chicken well with cold water and set aside.
  2. Put the rest of ingredients in a large enough pot with enough cold water (so when the chicken gets put in it won't overflow) and bring to a boil.
  3. Gently lower the chicken into the boiling stock, and bring back to a boil.
  4. As soon as it comes to a boil, turn it down to a simmer for 25-30 minutes, skimming any residue which floats to the top.
  5. If using the day of, remove the chicken (saving the broth) and place into a bowl. Cover with a ladle full of stock and cling film it until it is cool enough to handle and shred.
  6. If not using immediately, put the pot in an ice bath in the sink to chill it quickly, stirring occasionally. Leave it in the fridge overnight. Remove the chicken from the broth the next day, saving the excess broth. Remove and discard the skin and bones reserving the meat.

For the soup:

  1. Add two of the tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot on medium-high heat.
  2. Add the carrots, leeks, and garlic sweat for three or four minutes.
  3. Sprinkle in the cumin and toast for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes and turn to a gentle simmer.
  5. Add the bulgur and simmer for 25 minutes or until soft and tender.
  6. Skim off any scum that comes to the top.
  7. Add the kale and simmer for five minutes.
  8. Add the meat and lemon juice and stir through.
  9. Adjust your seasoning with sea salt.
  10. Finish with walnut parsley pesto and some warm pita.

For the pesto:

  1. Add the nuts, salt, garlic and blitz for ten seconds in a food processor or blender.
  2. Add the parsley and half of the olive oil and blitz for ten seconds.
  3. Add the rest of the oil and blitz for five seconds.
  4. Fold in the cheese.


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