Creamy chicken soup
1kg pack free-range chicken thighs, skin removed; 300ml dry white wine; 2 large onions, cut into large wedges; 4 celery sticks, quartered; 3 leeks, quartered; 2 sprigs thyme, plus extra leaves for sprinkling; 2 bay leaves; 1tsp salt; ½tsp ground white, or black, pepper; 40g plain flour; 300ml double cream; 2l water.
1. Put the chicken thighs in a very large, heavy-based pan and fry for a few mins, turning frequently to lightly colour them.
Providing the heat’s low, there’s no need to add any oil.
Pour in the wine, turn up the heat and boil rapidly to evaporate the alcohol.
Pile in the veg and herbs, add one teaspoon of salt and the white (or black) pepper.
2. Pour in two litres of boiling water. Cover the pan and simmer for 45 minutes until the chicken and veg are tender.
Take out the bay leaves and thyme sprigs and cool for about 30 minutes.
3. Remove chicken from the soup, then strip the meat from the bones. Put all but 140g of the chicken back into the pan. Blitz the soup with a hand blender or in batches in a food processor until very smooth, then return to the pan.
4. Blend the flour and cream together with a couple of ladles of the soup, then stir the creamy mixture into the rest of the soup and heat, stirring continuously, until thickened. You can blitz again if it looks a little lumpy. Chop the remaining chicken and stir into the soup. Scatter with thyme leaves to serve.