Tag Archives: winter

The Best Chicken Soup

This chicken soup that (I hope) you are about to make is the BEST. It is so flavorful and does the body and soul good. And by the time you read this, we’ll be feeling like winter again AND maybe it’ll be close to the weekend so it gives you time to buy all the ingredients because…well…there is something about a hot bowl of soup on Sunday. I actually used up a lot of ingredients hanging out in the fridge to make this baby. I don’t know about you, but I never really feel like cooking on Sunday, but I do it. This soup simmering on the stove for all of 45 minutes makes it okay. And full disclosure…this recipe is inspired from Ambitious Kitchen’s Best Chicken Soup You’ll Ever Eat. It actually pops up FIRST when you type in the words “best chicken soup.” Everything I’ve ever made by Monique has been delightful so TRUST. I made a couple of modifications to add a bright lemony flavor to it but the OG stands on its own just splendidly.

Here’s how you make it.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil. I actually next leveled and used duck fat (yum)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1/2 sweet or yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1-2 celery stalks plus leaves, chopped (we chop very finely because my people don’t want to crunch it)
  • 2 carrots, sliced thinly
  • 1 TBS fresh grated ginger plus it’s juices
  • 1TBS fresh grated turmeric (you can use 1 teaspoon ground turmeric). You want the color!
  • Juice of one lemon plus its zest (zest it first)
  • 4-6 cups chicken broth or stock
  • 1 pound (or about 4) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme, leaves only OR you can use a mix of dried herbs as I did here (1/2 tsp. of what you love, taste and adjust at the end)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup pearl or Israeli couscous, or tiny pasta like pastina
  • 2/3 cup frozen peas to be tossed in at the end
  • 1 parmesan rind (scrape the stamp off with a knife)

In a large pot, get the olive oil or fat shimmering. Add the onions and the celery and saute about 3 minutes until softened. Add carrots and garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add the ginger and turmeric, lemon zest and lemon juice, parm rind, and bay leaf. Add the chicken thighs to bottom of the pan and pour the broth over it all. The thighs should be submerged. Add the herbs and salt and pepper and bring to a good simmer. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until the thighs are tender.

Remove the thighs from the broth and shred with two forks. Add the chicken back to the pot then add the couscous. Cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until the couscous or pasta is done. Add the frozen peas and cook until heated through. Taste for seasoning, Top with fresh herbs.
First person to find the parm rind can eat it. It’s delicious.

NOTE:
You may want to add more broth depending on how “soupy” you like your soup. If you don’t have fresh herbs, use dried (which I did a mixture of fresh and dried on this day). You could also add beans instead of couscous, lentils, gnocchi, or quinoa. This will affect your cooking time, however. As a matter of fact, you can see on my instagram reel and maybe can tell in the photos that I used a Harvest Grain blend that I love from Trader Joe’s since there’s pearl couscous in this blend. There’s also quinoa, lentils, orzo. You might call this soup day a fridge purge day (it was).

I hope you make this Chicken Soup. It really is for the soul and when you do, tag me or let me know and let Ambitious Kitchen know too…because she really gets the credit here.

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Recipe: Toscana Soup or Zuppa Toscana or Spicy Italian Sausage, Potato & Kale Soup

After the cold winter that we had the misfortune of enduring this past April weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to post a recipe gets requested a good bit, particularly the last 2 days. And since in a couple of days it’s going to be a little chillier than late April ought to be, with more rain (yay), it’s as good a time as any. And if you can’t bear the thought of a spicy, potato-y soup in April (why the heck not?), then it can live in your archives until you deem it cold enough. 🙂

This soup is a copycat of the very popular one from OG (you know where I mean). I don’t know what their recipe is. But a few chefs out there have placed their own versions on the blogosphere and mine may be just like those. All I know is that I’ve done it so many times, I don’t go by a recipe but I know the ratios well enough. I’m not writing a cookbook, so you’ll have to trust me. This recipe gives you a bit of leeway depending on the amount of sausage you want in it and how you like your potatoes. mr. foodie likes his meaty. So I double the sausage from 1 to 2 pounds. And he likes varied texture so I usually slice up link sausages and ground sausage and brown them together. It’s vital that you use HOT Italian sausage. I guess you can use sweet/mild and add heat but this way— It’s just so yummy and spicy. It will make you feel ALIVE.

Toscana Soup

1-2 lb hot Italian sausage (you can use links or go with ground. Ground is easier but links are more true to the original)
2 cloves finely chopped garlic (or equivalent garlic powder)
1 tsp. minced onion (I use dry, but feel free to sweat in some fresh)
4-5 Medium sized russet potatoes, roughly cut into bite size pieces or sliced thin. Whatever.
4 cups chopped kale (again bite size pieces or bigger if you like it rustic). The pics show a Tuscan kale, but I usually use the curly kale too that’s more common.
4 cups chicken broth or stock
1/2-1 cup heavy cream. Depending on how creamy you want it. You may replace with milk or half &     half. It just won’t be as creamy. Here’s what I do. I use a half cup of cream, then I add milk until it just hits the  top of the ingredients in the pot.
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (no lie)
salt and pepper to taste

In a dutch oven or large pot, brown the sausage. If you use links, you’ll want to take them out, let them cool a bit then slice at 1/2 inch thickness.

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They may crumble out of their casings a bit. That’s okay. You may decide to drain a bit of the grease. It varies for me. I kind of like the color that reddish bit of rendered fat gives the soup. It’s up to you. While the sausage browns, chop your potatoes. Chop or slice as thin as you like. We like it rustic and we cook it a bit longer so they get very tender but you get larger, more tender bites. You know what you like.

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Add potatoes to the sausage in the pot. Add onion, garlic, and seasonings, then kale.

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Add stock or broth and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in cream or milk. You’ll want the liquids to just graze the the top of where the veggies come to.

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The kale will wilt down a lot. Just simmer on medium low until the potatoes are tender. You can go back and mash them up with the back of your spoon or you can leave larger…again, up to you. I let mine go for a couple of hours but it will probably be ready in one hour. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. If you need more heat and you used spicy sausage then you are a bada…mamma jamma. You see, you do get a bit of rendered fat on top. It ain’t bad, I promise. Enjoy!

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Here’s picture for reference. This time I just used ground hot Italian sausage. It didn’t render nearly the fat. And it’s a more golden potato looking soup. Both were magnifico!

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