Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Chicken Soup for my soul

Yesterday I decided to try my hand at making soup-something Ive never done before but always wanted to try. It had been a cold and gloomy weekend weather wise and I was feeling slightly under the weather, so I thought what better to sooth my soul and brighten the evening than a big pot of soup.

As I walked to the grocery store I couldnt quite decide what type of soup I wanted to make- I had been talking to my friend D about vegetable soups for a few days, and my mother had made chilli so both of those thoughts were going through my head- however I decided to make a nice chicken soup for myself. From the produce section I picked up three zucchini, three summer squash, one yellow onion, two serrano peppers, celery, white mushrooms, carrots, thyme, and rosemary. I then picked up three chicken breasts. I decided to purchase those with the skin on as I was hoping that they would add a little extra flavor while cooking the chicken and then I could remove them before adding the meat to the soup. I think next time Ill elect for chicken breasts with the skin removed. I also picked up a container of low sodium chicken stock as I already had one at home, and I picked up broccoli from the frozen food section. I had been hoping for Cauliflower, but I was unable to find any in the fresh produce section, or the frozen aisle so I settled for some broccoli.

Back at home I combined chopped rosemary and thyme with ground pepper and kosher salt and melted butter and then poured this on top of the chicken breasts. I had originally thought that I would massage this mixture under the skin of the chicken, but my fear of chicken germs took over and I refused to touch it. Again- I would be sure to purchase chicken with the skin removed in the future. I then covered my baking dish with tin foil and popped it into a 400 degree oven for 50 minutes. After that, I removed the tinfoil and baked for another 10 minutes un covered.

In the mean time, I chopped a bit more thyme and rosemary, and then started to chop my vegetables into large chunks, bite size but large bits so they would each stand their own. This was my theory for all vegetables aside from the onions, three cloves of garlic and the serrano pepper that I diced up seeds and all as I wanted this soup to have a bit of a kick. Into my large soup pot I added just a tablespoon of butter, the chopped onion, and the garlic and allowed those to sweat together for a few minutes. I then added the herbs and some salt and pepper. In succession while allowing each to add their own flavor to the mix before adding the next ingredient, I added the peppers, celery, carrots, zucchini, summer squash, and mushrooms. I then added both containers of chicken stock- I am not sure of the oz portions of each container, but they are pretty standard boxes at this point. I then added the frozen broccoli- about half the bag. The chicken was ready to be taken out of the oven at this point and so I removed the skin, chopped the meat and added it to the soup. A little wine was added, a bit more salt and then I allowed the soup to work on its own.

I had a bowl of it last night and I have to say-Im rather pleased by it. It is slightly spicy but that is almost just a backround taste after the rest of the garden fresh flavors emerge. The chicken retained it moisture through the baking and it added its own flavors to the soup. It was the first bowl of soup that Ive had in ages that I havent had to add anything to.

I have brought it for lunch today and will have it over some brown rice I had in my freezer. Hopefully it will serve as a satisfying and tasty lunch. It better-its what I plan on eating all week before I leave on vacation :-)

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

As you already know my love of soup-I am quite impressed by your efforts for you first soup making experience. Some suggestions for your next batch: spinach is fabulous as is cabbage. It adds a good amount of liquid when it cooks down though, so be sure that the pot is big enough. Also, I've found that adding just a few fun mushrooms-portabellas, porchini etc-can add some great flavor. Lastly, try a mix of veg. broth and chix. broth-the veg. broth adds a completely different flavor; very tasty, yet nice and light...I'm a big fan of it :)

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