Chicken Soup and Wheaten Soda Bread

A bowl of soup can make for a warming and elegant supper.

Roast chicken, clarified stock, butter beans, flageolet beans, tarragon, sausages, sauteed onion and crisp pancetta …not a bad result from the leftovers of the Sunday roast.

We ate the soup with wheaten bread warm from the oven. Wheaten soda bread is a real tradition in Northern Ireland and has become one of my very favourite things to eat since we moved here. A wonderful partner for smoked salmon, cheese or Ardglass potted herrings.

It is very quick to make as it needs no proving or kneading.  I knocked out the loaf below an just over an hour including baking (a food processor works well). I adapted Dan Lepard’s recipe for Waterford Soda Bread from The Handmade Loaf.

Try to use the coarsest, softest  flour you can get your hands on, mine comes from the Iona wholefood shop in Holywood and could be mistaken for muesli. For a richer loaf substitute a glass of the milk for ale or stout and the sugar for dark treacle. Once you have added the liquid to the dry mix it is important to work fast as the bread starts to rise as soon as the buttermilk or yogurt comes into contact with the bicarbonate.

Riverside wheaten soda bread

300g soft wholewheat flour
50g pinhead oatmeal
20g lard, dripping or butter
1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
1 dsp demerara sugar
200g buttermilk (yogurt will do)
200g whole milk
a handful of mixed seeds (I used linseed, pumpkin seed and sesame seed)

  • Preheat the oven to 230C. Grease a loaf tin and dust liberally with flour. Tear and grease a sheet of  foil that will cover the top of the tin, and set aside.
  • Weigh the flour, lard, bicarbonate of soda, salt, oatmeal and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and whizz so the fat is well combined …alternatively you could do this by hand by rubbing the fat through the dry ingredients.
  • Weigh the buttermilk and milk into a jug and warm to room temperature (I do this in the microwave). Turn on the food processor,  pour in the warm milk mixture and add the seeds. Continue to mix for another minute or so …you should have a thick batter.  Quickly pour the batter into the loaf tin.
  • Cover the top of the tin with the greased foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil  bake for a further 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin for a minute, then tip out onto a cooling rack (I usually pop it shelf of the cooling oven). Wrap when cool or store in airtight container.

Soup and bread will do nicely for my lunch tomorrow along with the last slice of Christmas cake.

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