RECIPE: Peasant Chicken Soup
A chill is in the air. Fall is here, at least here in the Midwest. And what goes best with chilly weekend weather but a nice bowl of warm soup. The smells coming off the stove as it simmers for a few hours as you crack open a window for a crisp breeze on a bright Sunday is unmistakable bliss. This soup is pretty easy, and you can pretty much clean out your crisper drawer of that bag of lonely carrots and left over celery. I always feel great when I can use up food in the fridge and make something special from it.
I call this "peasant" because it is very rustic. It's very similar to my traditional Italian Mother's recipe using some potatoes and whole piece chicken. To round out the dinner, I created a rustic cheese and olive platter with whole grain artisan bread. The bread was great for sopping up the soup as well as munching on the cheese. It really hit the spot for a Sunday meal. So slot this into your apple picking/fall garden clean up/Halloween planning/classic movie watching/fall leaf hiking activities. The pot simmers for a bit, so the stove does most of your work while you can enjoy your day!
Peasant Chicken Soup
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. whole cut up chicken, preferably just thighs and legs and skin removed, patted dry
1 lb. carrots, sliced
1/2 head of celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup fresh parsley tied in bundle with kitchen string
3 quarts of water
3 tsp. "Better Than Bouillon" chicken flavor (or 3 chicken bouillon cubes)
1 tsp. "Better Than Bouillon" beef flavor (or 1 beef bouillon cube OR a small beef bone)
2 peeled and seeded plum tomatoes
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 lb. thin pasta noodles, cooked according to package directions, drained and set aside
Over medium flame, heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Take them out as they finish browning, setting them aside on a plate. Once done, add the onion and garlic to the brown bits in the pan and saute, scraping the bottom as you go. As they soften, add the carrots and celery. Saute for 8 minutes until beginning to soften. As you do this, keep scraping up all the brown bit goodness on the bottom. Add back the chicken. Lower your flame a little.
Meanwhile, heat up some of your water and dissolve your bouillon into it. Mix well, and add it to the pot with the rest of the water. Crush your tomato in your hand over the pot, and add it in. Add the potatoes, and the parsley. Bring the pot up to a rolling boil. Once there, lower your temp to a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot, and simmer for 2-2 1/2 hours. As it gets close, take a teaspoon and taste, adding salt and pepper as you see fit. Skim off any fat if you have a lot settling on the top.
When the soup is finished, discard the parsley. Serve in bowls with a handful of cooked noodles and a chicken piece each. (Don't forget some cheeses and artisan bread as a side! Bread is great for sopping up the yummy!)