On my sister’s first night back in England (and possibly the warmest day we’ve had in a while!) she requested soup for dinner. I had been looking through cookbooks most of the afternoon anyway to find recipes for my birthday dinner on Wednesday, so was more than happy to continue browsing in search of a delicious soup recipe. Of course I chose the Covent Garden Book of Soups as they always know what they’re talking about.

This book has an amazing selection of soups, so I had to narrow my search down to soups containing chicken (as requested by the mother) and, after much deliberation (did we want a Colombian soup or a Moroccan soup?), I elected Moroccan Chicken and Lemon Soup.

It was an absolute hit. My dad commented that it is now his new favourite soup and I wholeheartedly agree. It is bursting with flavour, rich with spices and the thin slices of lemon add an unexpected and pleasantly surprising twist. I didn’t start cooking with the intention of writing about it, but quite honestly this soup needs to be shared with the world (or at least my little world of loyal readers –thank you!).

It is rightly placed in the ‘Reviving’ chapter of the book as it certainly has quite a kick to it. I would imagine it would be incredible on a miserable cold day but I can assure you it works wonders on a warm summer’s evening too…

2 tbsp each of sunflower oil and extra virgin olive oil
600g chicken legs on the bone (I used breasts and boneless thigh pieces and it worked fine too)
2 small onions (I used a mixture of red and white)
1 leek, cut into 1cm slices
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
3 sticks celery, cut into 1cm slices
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp honey
4 tbsp raisins
3-4 tsp hot curry powder
a pinch of chilli powder (optional but especially necessary if, like us, you only have medium curry powder)
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp allspice
1 litre chicken stock
50g long grain rice
1 large unwaxed lemon, thinly sliced
salt and pepper

To garnish:
Greek yoghurt
1 large handful of chopped fresh coriander

Heat the oils with ¼tsp salt and brown the chicken pieces lightly on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan.

Using the same saucepan, gently cook the onion until soft, without colouring. Add the leeks, carrots, celery and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

Stir in the honey, raisins, curry powder (and chilli powder if using), cumin and allspice and stir over the heat for a further minute.

Return the chicken pieces to the pan and add the rice and lemon slices. Stir, making sure to coat the chicken in the spices.

Pour over the stock, stirring well, and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer gently for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked, stirring occasionally. In my opinion, it’s best to leave it simmering just a little longer to really bring out all the flavours. 

If using chicken on the bone, remove it from the bone at this stage and then return it to the pan.

Season to taste and serve garnished with a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkling of fresh coriander.

Enjoy! (Trust me, you will!)

*I know this is the second chicken soup I have put on here in a short space of time, but, although at a glance they may look similar, they are completely different dishes and I think both of them need to be tried!

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