This slow-cook African Chicken Soup infused with African blue basil is intensely flavoursome and the epitome of comfort food. Low in calories, highly nutritious and easy to prepare.
If there ever was a dish worthy of being crowned the king or queen of comfort foods, that would undisputedly have to be chicken soup.
Today’s recipe features a little twist on the classic chicken soup with the infusion of African blue basil. In Africa, soups are prolific – like this squash soup from Mozambique, or this Ghanaian light seafood soup. And this herb finds wide applicability, mostly in soups. To the uninitiated, I would describe the flavour of African blue basil as savoury rather than sweet (think clove rather than Italian sweet basil).
But the uniqueness of African blue basil lies in its smell. This herb is so potently fragrant that it has that unique ability to lend such amazing flavours to a dish. It means you can cut down on the amount of salt and sugar you add to a dish without compromising on taste. African blue basil works best with slow-cooked recipes, as the long(er) cooking time allows the flavours to fully develop into the dish. Slow cooking also allows the herb to soften up in texture, but this is more relevant if you are using fresh African blue.
If you are using the dried herb (as I did, simply because I couldn’t get my hands on the fresh herbs), all hope is not lost. African blue basil is so pungent, that the dried herb retains a lot of the flavour, actually better than most other dried herbs. So, to take this chicken soup which is a family favourite to another level of awesomeness on the gastronomic scale, I coarsely shredded some dried African blue, and added it to my chicken soup base.
Simple, elegant, and nutritious. what could be better? Unfortunately, this is not one of those recipes you can make in a hurry. A good chicken soup needs a few good hours for the flavours to deepen and come together. So, plan this recipe for when you’ve got ample time on your hands.
Toss the chicken and veggies into a dutch oven, cover it and allow to simmer, while you put your feet up with a glass of wine. A few hours later, I promise, your patience will be rewarded with the most full-bodied chicken soup that will leave you going back for seconds.
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Afro-fusion Food Lover.
Sustainable Food Advocate.
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