Potage Bonne Femme
Growing up there were two phrases that made my Mother wince, the first was if we referred to our lounge as the "Best Room";, especially in front of guests. It was all so horribly bourgeois. The second was 'Salty Soup', our nickname for Potage Bonne Femme. This was down to a one-time over-seasoning mishap and it stuck. Whatever you call this soup, there is one thing everyone appears to agree on, it's absolutely delicious. Its something that to me proves the fundamental importance of a real chicken stock base. If made with water, it's just not the same thing. There is a stickiness from the gelatine rich chicken bones and a richness to the umami chicken flavour that cannot be replaced.
For me this has been a staple and probably one of the first things I ever learned to cook. My mother made this soup frequently. In fact, she made it pretty much every time we had roast chicken (which
was at least once a fortnight). She would always make a stock from the bones, and if
we saw her making stock, then we knew this wonder soup was on the way.
Adapted from Melinda Heathcote's Recipe:
Serves: 1 for a main, 2 for a starter
• 1 324g pouch of organic chicken bone broth
• 300ml filtered water
• 2 Leeks (you can use a large onion if no leeks)
• 1 Medium sized white potato peeled
• 1 Medium sized carrot peeled
• 1 tablespoon chicken fat/goose fat/ghee/butter
• 1 teaspoon pink/sea salt
• 1 generous pinch ground black pepper
Slice the leek into half cm thick rings (or thereabouts)
Heat up the fat in a medium sized pan on a low heat, add the leeks and cook very slowly until soft. Make sure they don't brown.
Dice the carrot and potato and add to the now warmed leeks, also add the Bone Broth and Water at this point. Now raise the heat and bring to a boil.
Once boiled for around 10-20 seconds reduce the heat down to a slow simmer and leave for 20-30 minutes.
Either blend with a hand blender or pour into a standard blender (ensure you allow it to cool if you're using a standard blender, otherwise it'll spurt out of the top. Not fun).
Season generously with salt and pepper and serve. At the point you can add some cream or parsley on top, but in my opinion it's creamy as it is. There is beauty in its simplicity. But whatever floats your boat. Enjoy!