There’s nothing better for the soul than a bowl of chicken soup. We’re down in Florida now and some will argue that it’s just too hot for soup. I say turn up the A/C and enjoy soup all year round.
I start with the trilogy (chopped celery-leafy tops included, carrots and onions) which I sauté in a large pot with a little EVOO. I season heavily with salt, pepper, thyme, tons of fresh dill and a packet of Sazon con Azafran (please don’t write me about color additives…) Once the veggies have sweated I plop in a whole cleaned chicken (as big as will fit in pot). Add water so the birdie is covered and season again with salt, pepper, thyme and yes, more dill. I cook this for about 90 minutes or until bird is cooked. Turn off heat and let cool a bit before removing the bird to debone (you can wrap the bird in cheesecloth before putting in pot for easier removal). One the bird has cooled enough to handle remove and toss any skin, bones and cartilage. Shred meat using a fork and return meat to soup. Turn heat on medium and let cook for another 20 minutes.
Plate soup over some cooked tubettini and serve with tons of fresh shredded parmesano, salt & pepper. I guarantee you will feel better just smelling the soup cook!
Pro-tip: My hubby likes potatoes in the soup sometimes instead of the pasta. To make with potatoes, add them about 45 minutes after starting the soup (so they don’t get too soft and fall apart). I use medium sized red potatoes which I cut in half and put in skin on.
What to cook on a cold night with only a few ingredients? Shrimp! Super versatile, quick and yummy. Tonight I simply sauteed these jumbo babies in a little EVOO and butter with whatever fresh herbs I had on hand (today it was fresh sage) a little diced onion and of course minced garlic (to taste).
I also prepared a creamy polenta garnished with fresh chopped basil and mint. Pro-tip: use a chicken stock base to make the polenta, it adds a deeper flavor. You can also add either a drop of heavy cream or mascarpone to enhance the flavor.
As a starter I prepared a creamed cauliflower soup. In boiling water add a cut up head of cauliflower (core removed), cook until soft (about 10 minutes). Drain. Warm up about four cups of chicken stock, add cooked cauliflower, salt, pepper. Using an emulsifying blender, blend until soup is creamy smooth. Now add either 2 tablespoons of mascarpone or 1/4 cup of heavy cream. You can add more broth to thin or more mascarpone or cream to thicken. I topped with a handful of cooked, diced bacon. This was a winner! Pro-tip: you can make a soup like this with almost any vegetable. We often make zucchini soup, mushroom soup, butternut squash…etc.
This hearty, earthy soup is pure comfort food. Fresh ingredients always prevail when you want the best end product possible. Fresh dill, chicken, lemons all come together in this traditional Greek dish. I start by seasoning a chicken breast with salt, pepper and a little EVOO and baking it in oven until cooked (about 20 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breast). Remove from oven and let cool. Next I make a rich chicken broth, you can do this using a store bought broth or homemade – make a large pot of broth so that there’s plenty of soup. I then scramble 1 egg in a mug and add the juice from 3 freshly squeezed lemons and set aside. Add 1 box of orzo to chicken broth and cook until slightly al dente (about 9-11 minutes). Dice up cooked chicken. Remove pot from heat after orzo is cooked. Slowly add one ladle of broth from orzo to the scrambled egg/lemon juice mixture Make sure you are mixing constantly so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs. Add chicken to the pot, then add the egg/lemon/broth mixture to the pot of soup stirring well to incorporate. Season generously with dill and fresh pepper. Of course garnishing with grated cheese is an awesome idea!
Chicken breast (or even leftover cooked skinless chicken)