Beautiful combination of chicken, tarragon and lemon makes this soup a simple delight, its main ingredients being a sort of invitation to its refreshing and light spring or summer tones. This works very well especially when having quite enough of those heavier comfort stews of the late winter eves. This soup is to wake you up and set you off for more of those brighter days!
I tried and adapted the original recipe, which was published in “Homemade Soups”, my treasured soup recipe book by Grace Mulligan & Dilwen Philips, for The Women’s Institute, 2012.
To make it, heat 25g butter in a saucepan, add 1 finely chopped onion, sweat for 5 mins, let it soften, but do not brown it. Add 2 tbsp plain flour, stir well & constantly while letting cook for another minute. Add 1 l chicken stock, gradually, while taking care of blending the flour well by constant stirring. Add finely grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, let simmer for 10 mins. Here I also added 1 tbsp of concentrated chicken stock to enhance the flavour.
Add 300g cooked, cubed chicken breast, and 1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, let simmer for another 5 mins. After that, remove the soup from the heat, let cool for a while, and stir in double cream – anywhere from 50 – 150ml. I tried the full amount of 150ml as suggested by the original recipe, but found less cream more pleasant for us. Reheat the soup, season with salt and white pepper to your liking.
Use some of the lemon zest and tarragon leaves, or even edible flowers (e.g. viola) as mentioned in the original recipe, to garnish and serve.