Chicken and Thyme, with pan-fried white turnip discs and root vegetables

Chicken and Thyme Soup, with pan-fried white turnip discs and root vegetables

As I wasn’t able to buy fresh coriander (cilantro) for my pineapple salsa last weekend I went with chicken as planned. And in using a large, almost branch, stem of my thyme that’s been thriving all year on a south-facing window sill. The stem was falling over it was so heavy, so that was snipped to encourage new basal growth for more pickings toward the end of summer. I’d kind of forgotten just how good the very traditional usage of thyme with chicken can be, and how ridiculously flavoursome this Chicken and Thyme Soup turned out.

Those first few sips had me almost reeling, cursing myself for usually adding so many other ingredients – no matter how good those stocks have been. Normally I would add lots of juniper berries, but I’m out of those right now and probably won’t buy them in again until Autumn. And what I’d completely forgotten to use was cayenne pepper. Guess what, it’s not needed!

Chicken and Thyme Soup, with pan-fried white turnip discs & root vegetables


For the soup:

  • 100g (3.52 0z ) x dried cannellini beans, soaked in plenty of cold water overnight
  • oil
  • 2 x medium white turnips (about 10cm or 4in in diameter), trimmed, sliced into discs crossways and peeled
  • flat leaf parsley, chopped, to serve
  • sour cream, to serve – optional
  • seasoning, both freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

For the stock:

  • 250g (8.81 oz) x onions, peeled, trimmed and cut in half
  • 3 x carrots or 200g (7.05 oz), peeled, trimmed and kept whole (if they fit into the saucepan)
  • 3 x parsnips or 200g (7.05 oz), peeled, trimmed and kept whole
  • 3 x dried bay leaves, split
  • 10 x whole black peppercorns
  • 5 x organic garlic cloves, root end cut of and discarded, cloves peeled and kept whole
  • 500g (17.63 oz) x chicken leg quarters (that includes the drumstick and thigh), skin and excess fat removed and discarded
  • 500ml (1.05 US pt lqd) x cold water
  • 1 x organic vegetable stock cube
  • 1 x very large or 3 sprigs fresh thyme, remove any wood and discard
  • 3 x flat leaf parsley stems, rinsed

Measurements within brackets above are approximate only.


  • After soaking the cannellini beans overnight rinse thoroughly in plenty of cold running water. Add to a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Add a lid and put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6). Bring to a boil, remove from heat and carefully strain the beans into a metal colander. Return to the saucepan and repeat the same process. Third time cover with plenty of cold water, bring to a boil then simmer until cooked. The cooking liquor can be used to help flavour the soup if needed. Until then set aside.
  • Add all of the stock ingredients to a large saucepan with lid and put on electric heat No 4 (out of 6). Bring to a boil, stir briefly and make sure chicken pieces are fully submerged. Remove the carrots and parsnips if those are to be served with the soup and set aside. Reduce heat to No 2 and simmer the stock for up to an hour (with the lid on), longer even better.
  • When stock has simmered removed the chicken pieces and garlic and set those aside. Strain the stock through a metal colander into a large suitable bowl. Then grab a large metal serving spoon and squish the remaining veg with the back of it to extract as much of their juice and nutrients as possible. Discard the pulp that’s left. Then strain the stock again through a fine wire metal sieve into a large saucepan. Add the garlic, chicken, cannellini beans, carrots and parsnips and put on a gentle heat.
  • In the meantime put a large heavy-based pan or skillet on heat No 3. When hot add a little oil. Place the white turnip discs into the pan and pan-fry on both sides until golden, removing those that are cooked and keeping them warm.
  • Serve the soup with freshly chopped flat leaf parsley and a dollop of sour cream.

All photographs within (Todas las fotografías dentro de) Feed the Piglet:
All rights reserved (© Todos los derechos reservados) – Copyright © Johnny H Hepburn


  1. I too am an advocate of summer soups – not just chilled ones, maybe that’s because it is freezing here just now. I’ve fallen for the turnip discs in this post again, good stuff (do I sound like Baldrick?!). Can’t help with Pinterest yet, I’m afraid, still just getting used to Twitter (which I like) in preference to Facebook (not keen on). Thanks!


    • Yet another nice coincidence as I’ve just loaded your new post – hazelnut shortbread…no, don’t tempt me with that! – and your comment showed up.
      – Why do you sound like Baldrick? It’s been so long since I’ve seen Blackadder. I used to love Queenie! Anyway, I’ve forgotten which soup I was going to make with white turnip discs as suddenly they were no longer on sale locally. The one I’ve used (partly to use it up) was one of the few items bought at the dreaded superstore – ughh, have to go back there this week.


  2. Big fan of roots and root laden chicken soup. Johnny, just want you to know I am saving these fab soups for when the weather turns cooler, my evernote file is getting larger and larger. BTW, made the pesto, totally fabulous, never had hazelnuts in pesto before and I love it, fresh, earthy, herbacious. Actually had the last of it this evening on tuna (cold of course) delicious!! Genius recipe. I don’t know if I follow you on twitter, if I don’t that will be corrected, pinterest also, don’t do facebook (not a fan).


    • Thanks so much for the feedback! Thrilled that you liked it 🙂
      – Yes, couldn’t help but tease re soups for when it’s cooler. Of course it’s easy for me to talk as it’s never very hot here, especially by the coast. Evernote? That’s a new one on me. Yes, you’re following on Twitter. Haven’t got a clue how to use Pinterest, excepting for pinning my own posts on there. Must start to use it more as I get views on this blog almost every day via Pinterest. Have to say I’m not a fan of FB either, but I’m enjoying the Page I created – so much more fun than FB proper.


      • Today was almost 100 degree’s heat index actual 95 degree’s, had the lovely cold tuna salad with your pesto. Not an adept pinner myself, pin a lot of pug pics, and food, still working on figuring how to use it well, One day I will eat hot soup.


        • That’s hot! When I was travelling in Eastern Europe several years ago the temp was usually 43ºC or 109.40ºF most days. Too hot for someone like me with so much hair! Yet, I still ate hot food. In the shade, of course. There are only so many salads I can get through 🙂


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