Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Food #2: creamy chicken soup

My kids don't like soup. I may have mentioned it before; I can't quite remember. I don't quite know what it is, but I suspect it has something to do with the promiscuous mingling of ingredients. My kids are strict segregationists when it comes to food, despite the best efforts of their progressive parents.

Still, they like this soup. Of course they do: it's rich and creamy! And yet I can kid myself that it's healthy, as I throw lots of vegetables into it. And you get a lot of bang for the small amount of cream in it, really you do. And with some nice bread or a salad you have a meal.

4 tablespoons butter
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 medium) (I minced the carrots and celery in the food processor; could have done the onion with them...In fact, should have, since complaints about onions in food are in direct proportion to the size of the bits)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1 1/2 cups half and half (I used half 1% milk and 1/2 cream, as that's what I had in the house)
Dried thyme

2 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbl sherry

1-1/2 cups penne pasta
1 cup frozen green beans, broken if they are whole (I buy these fancy frozen haricots verts but any green beans would do for this, I think. The original calls for sugar snap peas, which would also be delicious, I'm sure.)
1 cup frozen corn
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Melt 3 tbl butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add celery, carrots and onion. Cook until celery and onion are tender, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually mix in chicken stock. Bring soup to simmer, stirring frequently. Add the pasta and cook until tender. Add half and half and a sprinkling of thyme and simmer 5 minutes.

While the soup simmers, brown the chicken thighs in the last tablespoon of butter. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pan and deglaze the pan with the sherry. Shred or chop the cooked chicken and add it, the pan juices, and the frozen vegetables to the soup. Simmer until the vegetables are no longer frozen. Mix in lemon juice; season to taste with salt and pepper.

This feeds all four of us with some left over, even when Nick has two servings.

I adapted this from an epicurious recipe, by the way. Here's the original in case you want to compare.

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