With winter on the horizon (one day, not that we’re counting), there’s one thing on most foodie’s minds: soups. But purifying vegetables isn’t the only way to satiate the tastebuds. Chef’s Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice have an equally satisfying—and slightly more filling—alternative: their Peruvian chicken soup.
“Peru has recently established itself as a global health-food capital, due to its unique and nutrient-dense array of produce, much of it hauled from the Amazon and the high Andes. This soup includes quinoa, Peru’s famous protein-packed super seed, and lean chicken breast; with plentiful coriander, a hint of chilli and a zing of lime, it’s a fortifying mini meal in a bowl.”
If soup always leaves you in need of a second bowl—or pining for dessert—you need to try this version.
Peruvian Chicken Soup
50g coriander (leaves and stalks), plus extra leaves to serve
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 green chilli, deseeded
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500ml chicken stock
50g quinoa, well rinsed
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 150g, cut into about 4 pieces
50g frozen peas
juice of 1/2 a lime
sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
lime wedges, to serve
- Put the coriander, stalks and all, and the onion, garlic, chilli, celery and olive oil into a food processor and blitz until you get a pesto-like consistency.
- Tip the mixture into a saucepan and fry gently for several minutes, then add the stock and rinsed quinoa. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook for a further 15 minutes until the chicken and quinoa are cooked through. Transfer the chicken from the pan to a plate, then shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the pan with the peas and bring to a simmer. Add the lime juice and cook for a few minutes until the peas are tender.
- Season and serve scattered with extra coriander leaves and lime wedges on the side.
+ Health Tip … Technically a seed but eaten like a grain, quinoa is one of the few plant foods that contains all nine essential amino acids, including lysine and isoleucine acids, which most other grains lack. Naturally high in fibre, quinoa is a slowly digested carbohydrate, making it a great low-GI option.
If your soup craving is running rampant this winter, try Donna Hay’s miso and sweet potato soup, her pea and ham hock one and Jacqueline Alwill’s tomato and carrot soup.
Image and recipes extracted from The Midlife Kitchen: Health-Boosting Recipes for Midlife and Beyond by Mimi Spencer and Sam Rice, published by Hachette Australia in hardback ($39.99) and ebook ($19.99). Photography by Issy Crocker.