Chicken and Roast Vegetable Soup
Soup needs to be more than just soup. This dish is a slow roasted pumpkin and sweet potato soup, with two hour caramelized onions, a roasted beetroot ring, simple roasted chicken thigh in paprika and marjoram, and crispy as halloumi. Radish leaves on the side because they're peppery. This is how I do soup. Not on it's own, but as a part of a balanced dish. This one is well worth it.
For the soup
1 Pumpkin, peeled and diced
3 Large Kumara/Sweet Potatoes, peeled and diced
For the chicken
2 Teaspoons dried Marjoram
2 Teaspoons smoked paprika
6 Chicken thighs
Onion, finely sliced
1 Beetroot cut into cm thick rings
Preheat the oven to 170 C.
In a baking tray, toss the vegetables in marjoram and a few lugs of extra virgin olive oil. Cover with tinfoil and transfer to the oven on the lowest rack, for about an hour or until tender. The tinfoil is there to stop the vegetables drying out too much, or becoming too caramelized (I find it affects the sweetness of the soup.)
Brush a layer of olive oil on a separate baking tray. Put the beetroot rings on top. Brush the tops with olive oil and then lightly sprinkle salt. Put them into the oven, above the other vegetables.
Mix the chicken thighs in with the marjoram and paprika, two teaspoons of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, and leave to marinate.
Lightly coat a frying pan in olive oil. On a medium heat, slowly cook the onions. Turn them every couple of minutes to get the browning ones off the bottom and the fresher ones onto the heat. I did it for two hours until they were basically a paste. But for time, I recommend doing it until serving. They’ll be sweet and soft by then. ALWAYS CHECK THE ONIONS.
Once the vegetables under the tinfoil are good and tender, transfer to a blender or a food processor. Blend on high, add the garlic and slowly add water until the soup is loose, smooth and moves freely.
Transfer that to a pot, add the cream and reduce a heat on a medium-low heat. Reduce until its nearly a puree - I like it thick! My tester is if you fold the soup and the fold takes a couple of seconds to flatten out. Once you’re here, or close to it, reduce the heat to low and start on the chicken.
Put the chicken thighs on the baking tray you did the vegetables on. Take the beetroot out of the oven and increase the heat to 190 C. Put the chicken thighs in for 25 minutes or until the juice runs clear. In the last five minutes, put the beetroot in, to get them hot.
Fry slices of halloumi in olive oil in a frying pan while the chicken is cooking. Get them crispy on each side.
Salt and pepper the soup to taste. Serve with a couple of radish leaves.
Plate it how you like!
Either way, you should have dynamic sweetness, pepper and smoke with a hit of salty halloumi.