Sunday, 3 May 2009

Childhood memories-Chicken soup, true comfort food

Whenever I'm feeling a bit down or unwell I always crave something that will make me feel warm inside.

When I was a child, I always spent my school holidays in Portugal. The first few days were filled with coughs and sneezes as my body adapted to the change in temperature.

The Portuguese have a sure cure for this- a clear chicken soup, with added mint and lemon.
The combination, truly delicious and comforting.
I found myself craving that today, and although I didn't stick to the original recipe which asks for home-made Chicken stock, it turned out just as delicious.
A true childhood memory.

What about you, what childhood foods do you crave for?

Chicken with Mint, Rice and Lemon
adapted from "The Food of Portugal"

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into thin wedges
4 parsley sprigs
4 strips lemon zest (the colored part of the rind), each about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide
1 sprig fresh mint
2 quarts rich chicken broth
1/3 cup raw rice, cooked separately by package directions*
3-4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
salt, to taste
1/8 teaspoon white or black pepper

A small sprig of mint and some lemon if you like

Simmer the chicken breast with the onion, parsley, lemon zest, and mint sprig in the chicken stock in a covered heavy saucepan over low heat 30-40 minutes until cooked through. Remove chicken breast and cool. Strain the broth through a sieve and return to the pan. Boil the stock uncovered 8-10 minutes to reduce slightly. Meanwhile, cut chicken breasts into large julienne, and add to the broth along with the cooked rice, lemon juice, chopped mint, salt (optional- I didn't need any), and pepper. Heat 2-3 minutes. Ladle into soup plates, float a mint-sprigged lemon slices in each portion, and serve.

*I cooked 1/3 cup raw, white rice in 2/3 cup boiling water (in a small covered saucepan) for about 15 minutes or until all water was absorbed.


  1. I crave my mum's Queen of Puddings. If you haven't tried it, it's a base of breadcrumbs baked in custard, then covered in the best quality jam (raspberry is good), then topped in light meringue.

  2. We make this in Spain! Sopita de Arroz as my grandmother calls it! Delicious!!