15 December 2015

68 degrees

Even though here in NJ, I'm second-guessing any polar vortex-oriented Christmas gifts I've ordered, it doesn't mean soup can't take the stage. Ideally, I think a good warming, refreshing, brothy soup can be enjoyed at 28 degrees in December or 68 degrees, like on the afternoon we slurped this particular soup. 

Little did I know, a shortcut chicken soup could exist. And not the kind you open from a can. The kind that's made similarly to my lazy roast carrot soup, but doesn't even involve roasting anything. The secret is boneless skinless chicken thighs, which can withstand a little simmer nicely, and chicken stock or chicken-veggie stock, that you already have on hand. 

Every few weeks I make a broth from vegetable scraps (cleaned leek, scallion and fennel tops, carrot tippy tops, broccoli stems) and some bones from cooked chicken (thighs or breast). I keep the bones and scraps in a large bag in the freezer for a few weeks and then dump it all in a pot one day with water and any aromatics on hand and a few hours later, strain the broth. This means homemade soup is one step closer. I keep the broth in the freezer usually. 

In my mind, everyone should be able to make a chicken soup without resorting to a can but not having to break down a whole bird. Although it involves a bit of initial chopping and mise en place, once that's done and you turn on the burner you'll only have about 20 minutes active time until you'll be sitting down to some soup.

The recipe I was inspired by originally had you cook some orzo right into the simmering broth. But I opted to spoon some brown rice I cooked separately, into bowls with the soup for a classic chicken and rice soup kissed with lemon and aromatics. Enjoy!

Quick Chicken Soup
inspired by DamnDelicious

1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Sea Salt + pepper
4 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
1 small leek white, sliced thin
1 small or 1/2 a medium onion, diced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 cups chicken broth or chicken-vegetable broth (I used homemade)
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1/4 lemon, or about 1 1/2 teaspoons
Heaped Tbsp chopped parsley

To serve: Cooked rice, I used a brown Jasmati

Season chopped chicken with a good pinch salt and pepper. Heat a dutch oven or stockpot over medium high and add oil. Once hot, add chicken and saute 3-4 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pot aside to a bowl. 

Add another splash of oil, then add diced carrots, leek and onion, a pinch of salt and sautee 3-4 minutes until browning and softening. Stir in garlic, thyme and oregano and sautee one more minute until fragrant. 

Whisk in chicken broth, water and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Stir in browned chicken and reduce to a simmer. Simmer 10-12 minutes until everything is tender. Stir in lemon juice, parsley and a pinch more salt and pepper if needed.

To serve: Ladle cooked rice into bowls and top with soup, squeezing more lemon and parsley if desired. 

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