The combination of chicken and lemon goes back to the seventeenth century when both oranges and lemons were expensive luxuries. Over the centuries, lemons became associated with chicken, and oranges with duck. A rich, jellied, homemade chicken stock is by far the best for this delicious soup.
25 g (1 oz) English butter
2 medium onions, skinned and thinly sliced
75 g (3 oz) carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
75 g (3 oz) celery, cleaned and thinly sliced
1.1 litres (2 pints) chicken stock
2 bay leaves
salt and freshly ground pepper
150 ml (5 fl oz) fresh single cream
snipped fresh chives and lemon slices to garnish
1 .Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the vegetables; cover the pan and cook gently for 5 - 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are beginning to soften.
2. Meanwhile, thinly pare the lemons using a potato peeler. Blanch the rinds in boiling water for 1 minute; drain. Squeeze the juice from the lemons to give 75-90 ml (5-6 tbsp).
3. Add the lemon rind and juice to the pan with the stock, bay leaves and seasoning. Bring slowly to the boil, cover the pan and simmer gently for about 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are very soft.
4. Cool the soup a little, remove the bay leaves, then rub through a sieve or puree in a blender. Return the soup to a clean pan, reheat gently, stirring in the cream. Do not boil. Adjust seasoning and serve garnished with snipped chives and lemon slices. Serves 6