|Chicken Soup with Red Lentils c2012|
When I was in elementary school I hung out with four girls. When it would get close to dinner time we would start calling our mother’s to find out who was eating the best meal and invite ourselves over. It wasn’t usually all four friends, and we didn’t do this every day.
One afternoon my girlfriend Christine informed her mom that she wanted to eat dinner at my house. Her mother say, “Why, what are they having?” “Chicken soup, Christine exclaimed. “Chicken soup well, I can open you a can of that!” “No, mom you don’t understand they’re making it with a chicken!”
My mom truly made her chicken soup from scratch. She would simmer a whole chicken all day to make a stock. Then she would take out the bird and add some of it’s meat back into the soup, of course, she would also throw in some vegetables and small pasta. This is really the most cost effective way to make chicken soup because you really are only buying a chicken and a few vegetables. The cooked chicken can be used for many other meals through out the week like chicken casserole and chicken salad.
I, like most people who are busy during the week, do not want to keep an eye on a pot of simmering chicken stock all day. So, what follows is my simple and quick chicken soup. You can cook this and immediately eat it, but like any soup, if it is possible to let it sit for a few hours the flavor will get richer.
You can basically put almost anything into this soup. Any pasta or grain that you have which is not quite a full serving can be used. I had some leftover red lentils that I threw in this time. You can use peeled chopped potatoes (you will have to boil the soup until the potatoes are tender).
I would not add rice into the stock. If you want a chicken and rice soup, cook the rice separately and put it individually into each serving of soup. If you let the soup sit with the rice in it the rice will absorb too much water. If you really want to add the rice to the soup make sure you only put a very small amount say 1/4 of a cup or so.
Any veggies that are wilting in your fridge you can throw into the soup. I recommend Mirepoix, the French Holy Trinity of veggies: carrot, onion, celery because they are the classic vegetables used in chicken soup.
I put the chicken pieces in frozen so they won’t get over cooked. Anyway, it’s just easier why bother thawing them.
Simple Chicken Soup
by Diane Balch
Serves: 8 Prep time: 15 minutes
4 tablespoons of olive oil (more if it doesn’t cover the bottom of your pan or the vegetables soak it up)
2-4 carrots chopped
2-4 celery sticks chopped
1 large onion minced
1 tablespoon of poultry seasoning
1 dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 small bay leaf
2 32 oz of chicken broth (don't use low sodium)
4-6 pieces of frozen chicken tenders or 3 chicken breasts (any chicken parts you like)
1/2 small pasta, or quinoa (gluten-free), or barley (not rice)
Put olive oil in a large sauce pan on medium high heat. Sauté onions, celery, and carrots with poultry seasoning, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper until vegetables get soft but not browned.
Add chicken broth and bring it to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and add chicken and pasta.
Let simmer for 10 minutes. Check if the chicken is cooked. If not boil it another 5 minutes or more.
Scoop out the chicken pieces. Shred them and return them to the pot.
Let the soup sit on the hot burner for 2 hours or more.
Bring to a boil before serving.
If you want to eat the soup immediately boil it for the length of time it says for cooking the pasta.