Thursday, October 15, 2009

Recipe: Awesome Chicken and Vegetable Soup

One of the tricks I have learned to making a very rich and satisfying chicken and vegetable soup is to use some of the cooking techniques used for Chicken Gumbo.

I find that sauteing the vegetables and the chicken in a little olive oil adds a real richness of flavor to the soup. It takes extra time to nicely brown up the vegetables and the meat but it really makes a difference in the flavor of the soup.

We use a wide variety of vegetables in this soup depending what is fresh and what is in my refrigerator. I always use onion, celery, carrots and garlic but you can add leeks, shallots, parsnips, potato, squash to brown up and add flavor to the broth. I find really any hardy root vegetable is good that you enjoy as part of the browning process.

I also add some additional vegetables that need less cooking time to give a fresh flavor to the soup. As the soup is almost ready to serve I add things like kale, green beans, mushrooms, peas, etc. Anything that adds another vegetable flavor that you like and does not need or do well with a long cook time. This is also time to add some additional herbs if you like.

I use a mix of white and dark meat chicken as my family prefers that but white or dark only is also an option. We usually make a fairly large pot as the soup gets better over time and freezes well.

Sometimes I add homemade or store bought egg noodles as my family loves noodles in the soup. Very often I serve it without the noodles the first time and then add noodles to next day to give it variety.

Another note. I use almost exclusively organic and/or local ingredients. I find the flavor is better and I know organic and local are better for the environment.

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

1 yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
Any additional vegetables that your family loves
1 Tbls Olive Oil
2 1/2 lbs of chicken; cut up into small pieces boneless and skinless
64 0z Chicken Broth; low or no salt
Black Pepper
Fresh or dried herbs; tarragon, oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc. Which one's you use is your preference
1 lb of Kale or Spinach, chopped

Saute the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and anything else you have on hand in olive oil.  Cook until light brown.  Add the chicken and cook until the chicken is done and browned.  Add the chicken broth and herbs.  Cook for about 30 to 60 minutes.  Add kale or spinach and any additional herbs that you like.  Cook for approximately 10 more minutes and serve.

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