Tag Archives: chicken soup

Nothing Fancy Chicken Soup

Cold season is upon us…again.  Everywhere you turn someone is sneezing and sniffing and hacking.  There’s ice on my windshield and my toes are perpetually cold.  You all know by now what this means.  Soup, soup and  more soup!

Normally I play fast and loose with my soup recipes, getting creative, adding pesto or orzo or this and that.  But when I have a cold, sometimes what I really want is just simple, no frills, nothing fancy chicken soup.  I can practically make this in my sleep (or cold-medicine induced brain fog).  It’s warm, tasty and oh so satisfying.  It also freezes well if you want to make a double batch so you’re prepared for the next go ’round.

I normally use leftover chicken (or turkey) or rotisserie chicken from the store, or you can cook up a couple of chicken breasts or thighs.  Whatever you have on hand will work fine.

Wow, I feel better already!

Wow, I feel better already!

Nothing Fancy Chicken Soup

1 cup onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
4-5 carrots, sliced thinly
8 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. dry Italian seasoning
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped
1 cup green beans (fresh or frozen)
1 cup dry noodles (I used rotini but any smallish shape will work)
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
Salt & pepper

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Saute onion and celery for 2-3 minutes.  Add carrot and cook another couple of minutes.  Add chicken broth and Italian seasoning.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add chicken and green beans.  Bring to a boil again.  Add pasta and stir.  Turn down to medium and simmer another 15 minutes or so, until pasta is tender.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  For added richness, I like to add about 1/2 cup of heavy cream at the end but if you’re watching the calories (or you don’t do dairy), feel free to leave it out.  It’s delicious either way!

If you want to get a tiny bit fancy with it, or you just want an excuse to eat a whole loaf of bread by yourself, serve it in a bread bowl!

There's soup in there somewhere, soaking into my yummy bread.

There’s soup in there somewhere, soaking into my yummy bread.

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Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

The day after Thanksgiving my uncle gave me a turkey.  I was thankful.  But at that point I was a little sick of turkey.  So I cooked the bird, stripped off all the meat and froze every last bit of it (including the broth) in little freezer bags for future meals.  And I’m slowly enjoying it bit by bit.

Right now an inordinate number of my friends and family are sick and that makes me think of chicken (or turkey) soup.  While it may not cure you, sometimes when you’re sick it’s just the thing to make you feel a tiny bit better.  Thankfully I’m not sick, but if I get that way, I’m going to have a batch of this all ready to go.

I like this recipe, especially for turkey leftovers, because it doesn’t taste like Thanksgiving.  The wild rice gives it a slightly woodsy flavor all its own.  Perfect wintery food.  If you’re opposed to wild rice, you can substitute another kind of rice or noodles if you want.  You can also substitute chicken for the turkey.

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

Turkey & Wild Rice Soup

1 onion, chopped
2-3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
8 cups chicken broth
a few sprigs of fresh thyme (about 1 tsp of leaves)
2 cups cooked turkey or chicken
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
1/2 cup wild rice
Pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika
Salt & pepper

Saute onion, celery and carrot in a little olive oil.  Add broth, turkey, green beans and thyme.  Bring to a boil and add rice.  Turn heat down and cook for a half hour or so until rice is tender.  Season as needed with salt & pepper.  Add a pinch of cayenne or paprika for a little extra zip.

 

 

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Rustic Chicken Chowder

So it’s been a long day, and you stop and get one of those tasty rotisserie chickens from the grocery store deli, dig in like a ravenous beast and throw the leftovers (if any) in the fridge.  Now if you’re like me, you think, “don’t throw that away, you can make something out of it like your grandma would!”  I’ll be honest.  Sometimes I just throw it away.  But sometimes I get industrious and soup happens the next day.

I know it SOUNDS like a lot of work, but what it really is is throwing everything in a pot and letting it simmer while you’re having a lazy day at home. I love how the chicken just falls off the bones in little shreds that permeate the whole soup.  You just don’t get that when you cut chicken up in neat little bites.  You end up with something that tastes rustic and homey, and honestly tastes like you slaved over it, when maybe you just know how to boil.  And if that’s the case, it’s okay, because it’s still going to be awesome.

Rustic Chicken Chowder

Rustic Chicken Chowder

Leftover roasted chicken (with the bones if you have them)
6-8 cups water or chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
4-5 russet potatoes, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. paprika
1-2 tsp. chicken bouillon (optional)
2 tsp. cornstarch (optional)

Put the whole chicken carcass in a soup pot (including any meat left on it and the weird jelly-like stuff in the bottom of the pan or package) and cover with water.  Add bay leaves and bring to a boil.  Turn heat down, cover and simmer for a couple of hours.  (If you want to skip this step, you can always use prepared chicken broth and add cooked chicken).  Before adding the other ingredients, remove the bones and skin and return broth and chicken to the pan.

Add onion, celery, potatoes and corn.  Cook for 30 minutes or more until veggies are all soft.  Add cream and seasonings.  If you want more intense chicken flavor, add some chicken bouillon (I like the “better than bouillon” paste stuff) for an extra punch.  I like my soups to be soupy but if you prefer a thicker, more “chowder-like” consistency, mix some cornstarch with water until it dissolves and stir into boiling soup to thicken.

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The Cure For What Ails You

Rough day?  Head Cold?  Bad mood?  Bad weather?  Obviously, you need some chicken soup.  According to my grandma and old wives everywhere, it will cure what ails you.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that when I’m not feeling well, or when it’s rainy outside I like to eat chicken soup and it makes me feel better. Of course, it’s also pretty tasty when you’re feeling just fine.

I usually start with a pretty basic chicken soup recipe, and then I tend to play with it.  Sometimes I go a little Italian, with tomatoes and herbs, sometimes it’s more of a Thai theme, with coconut milk and chiles.  For today, I wanted simple, but rich and creamy.  And that’s just what I got.

Creamy Pesto Chicken Noodle Soup

Creamy Pesto Chicken Noodle Soup

2 chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup sliced or chopped carrots
6-8 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 oz. small shaped pasta, like shells
1/3 cup basil pesto
3/4 cup heavy cream

Combine chicken broth, chicken breasts, onion, celery, bay leaf and carrots in a soup pot and bring to a boil.   Reduce heat to a barely boil and cook for 20-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and veggies are tender.  Remove chicken and let it cool a bit, then shred by pulling it apart with two forks.  Add salt & pepper and shredded chicken to pot and bring soup back to a boil.  Add pasta.  Cook 5 minutes.  Stir in pesto and cream and cook another 5-10 minutes until pasta is tender.  Taste for seasoning; adjust salt & pepper if needed.  Makes 6-8 servings.

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