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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group

An Irish Country Cookbook

More Than 140 Family Recipes from Soda Bread to Irish Stew, Paired with Ten New, Charming Short Stories from the Beloved Irish Country Series

Irish Country Books

Patrick Taylor

Forge Books




In the wintertime when Doctor O’Reilly was going duck shooting down to Strangford Lough, he liked to take a flask of soup with him, usually some hard-boiled or Scotch eggs, and a good chunk of bread and some cheddar cheese. He said that being out on a cold, frosty morning waiting for the dawn and the ducks of course gave him a great appetite. Sure isn’t it grand but I never found his appetite to be anything but insatiable.

Real chicken stock is something that a reasonably good cook is likely to have at hand or in the freezer. If you boil a chicken to cook it then what you have left is real chicken stock. People also cook chicken carcasses to make stock.

However, stock cubes or powder are as good a substitute and make for a quick tasty soup.

This is one of his favourites:

Creamy Chicken Soup

Serves 4

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp oil

1 medium, boneless chicken breast, diced, skin removed

1 large onion, chopped

1 large potato, peeled and chopped

20 oz/590 ml chicken stock (you can use stock cubes)

10 oz/295 ml milk

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heavy cream

Finely chopped fresh parsley

Melt the butter with the oil in a large saucepan and sauté the pieces of chicken, turning frequently to lightly brown them on all sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Now add the onion and potato to the pan and stir gently over a very low heat to prevent sticking. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and the pan lid. Continue to sweat gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and the potato has softened. Discard the parchment.

Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring back to the boil. Continue to simmer gently for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, add the milk, and season with salt and pepper. Liquidise the soup using an immersion blender or food processor. Serve with a little swirl of cream and some parsley.


Kinky’s Note:

Covering the vegetables with parchment paper and cooking very gently creates steam and is called “sweating.” This enables the maximum amount of moisture and flavour to be extracted.


Pea and Ham Soup

Serves 4 to 6

1 lb 2 oz/500 g dried peas

1 large onion, peeled

10 whole cloves

1 ham bone, plus 6 oz/170 g diced cooked ham

48 oz/1.4 L ham stock or vegetable stock cubes

2 or 3 bay leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley

Heavy cream

Soak the peas overnight in cold water. The next day drain them and place them in a large saucepan. Stud the onion with the cloves and add it to the pan, along with the ham bone, stock, and bay leaves. Bring to the boil. As the peas come to the boil, a scum will come to the surface so just skim and discard this. Leave to boil for about an hour, by which time the peas should be soft.

Remove the bone, onion, and bay leaves and liquidise the remainder with a blender or food processor. Taste before seasoning with salt, as the ham stock may be quite salty. Add the freshly ground black pepper, diced ham, parsley, and a generous swirl of cream to the soup before serving.


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