Chicken Soup

 

Steamy Chicken Soup - Ready to eat!

 

I’m a soup gal – and cooking up a variety of soups is definitely my favorite part of fall.  While I’ve successfully figured out healthier versions of some of my favorite soups, a flavorful chicken soup has always been a challenge.  I’ve tried making my own stock and using a variety of store-bought broths with only mediocre results.  Fortunately, the fine folks at America’s Test Kitchen did some of the work for me – and I now have a satisfying and fool proof recipe!  I love the healthy veggies and hearty, multifaceted broth.  Using ground chicken, vegetables, and a variety of herbs while making the stock ensures that this is no ordinary chicken soup!

Hearty Chicken Soup

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Stock:

1 TBS vegetable oil

1 pound ground chicken (I use ground chicken breast)

1 onion, chopped medium (about 1 cup)

1 carrot, peeled and chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)

1 celery rib, chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)

4 cups water

8 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 bay leaves

2 tsp. salt

2 bone-in, skin-on split chicken breasts

 

Soup:

3 TBS cornstarch

1/4 cup cold water

1 onion, halved and sliced thin

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 celery rib, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 russet potato, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4-6 Swiss chard leaves, chopped

 

1.  For the stock: Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat until simmering.  Add the ground chicken, onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is no longer pink, 5-10 minutes.  Do not brown the chicken.

2.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add the water, broth, bay leaves, salt, and chicken breasts.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.  Transfer the chicken breasts to a large plate and set aside.  Continue to cook the stock for about 20 minutes, maintaining a gentle boil.  Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large pot, pressing the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.  Allow the liquid to settle for 5 minutes, and skim off excess fat.

3.  For the soup: Return the stock to the Dutch oven set over medium -high heat.  In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water until a smooth slurry forms; stir into a stock and bring to a gentle boil.  Add the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes, and cook until the potatoes are tender, 15-20 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle boil.

4.  Meanwhile, remove and discard the skin and bones from the reserved cooked chicken.  Shred the meat with two forks.  Add the shredded chicken and Swiss chard to the soup and cook until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

 

I like to serve with homemade popovers! Yum! 🙂

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