Cold weather just sets my soup-cooking emotions to stirring.
After a look into my post-Thanksgiving freezer, I realized I had a variety of frozen vegetables I’d like to do something with because I’m not going to make them individually just for myself.
That’s when “soup!” came into my mind. I’ll have some for myself and some to share with friends, which is why I make a big pot of it. It’s also great to freeze in quart-size Ziplock bags for a no-trouble supper or lunch. Just add a salad or a toasted roll and you’re in business.
My only word of advice is to refrain from adding the chicken until the soup’s almost done. Otherwise, it will cook out all its juices and taste dry, even in the midst of the broth.
HOMEMADE CHICKEN-VEGETABLE SOUP
- large dutch oven
- wooden spoon
- chopping board
- measuring equipment
- bowls for chopped veggies
- 16 cups chicken broth (4 32-ounce cartons. Store-bought is fine, I just happened to have made some for Thanksgiving, so I’m using that.)
- 3 boneless chicken breasts, diced 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- 2 cans black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon each, salt/pepper (more later, if you want it)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano (crush it between your palms as you add it to the pot)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- choice of vegetables (I’m using what I have in the freezer, plus others – about 1/2 12-ounce bags of green beans, onions, corn, English peas. But, if you don’t have a loaded freezer, buy the frozen “Soup Vegetables” at the grocery store. Two or three 12-ounce bags will do the trick and beat the heck out of all this chopping.)
- 1/2 small bag baby carrots, chopped in half
- 4-5 small red potatoes, diced about 1-inch pieces
- 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
- Other freezer veggies – green beans, pearl onions, corn, English peas
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1/8 cup white vinegar
- 3 tablespoons “raw” sugar (regular sugar will do)
Let’s get started
First, prep the non-frozen vegetables – potatoes, celery, smashed garlic. After you dice your potatoes, put them into a bowl and cover with water to prevent their turning brown.
Into your dutch oven, pour chicken broth. To broth, add bay leaves, garlic, salt/pepper, thyme, oregano, 1 can tomatoes and half a lemon. Let the broth simmer about 30 minutes.
While it’s simmering, rinse chicken breasts and trim off fat, membranes and the cartilage that usually runs down one side. Slice into strips, then slice strips into 1/2-inch pieces. Move them to a bowl and return to the fridge.
Next, add pearl onions, chopped celery, carrots, frozen green beans and potatoes.
If you’re using frozen soup veggies, add them now. If you are using fresh/refrigerated veggies (corn, onions, peas, etc.), wait about 15-20 minutes before adding them. After all the veggies are added (except for beans), simmer another 20 minutes until carrots and potatoes are done.
Taste for salt. If you like it, add vinegar, sugar and then black beans and diced chicken.
Initially, stir well to move chicken pieces around so they will cook thoroughly. Your soup should be ready in another 15 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Squeeze other half lemon, stir. It’s time to eat.
BTW: You can half this recipe, if it’s too much for your cooking capacity. Just taste as you go along to see if you need to adjust any flavors up. I’d still use the large can of diced tomatoes.
Serves at least a dozen. For a full feast, serve with a small side salad and grilled cheese sandwich. Yum.
Come back to NewinNOLA.com for the “Southfacin’ Cook,” where Patsy explains the basics to Southern cooking and eating. Contact her with suggestions, questions or requests at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous recipes from Patsy: