CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

I use the pressure cooker a lot, pretty much the whole year. I wanted to make chicken soup under pressure (the soup, not the cook), so I started by checking a few cookbooks and websites. I shall name no names, but a very very reputable source gave me a recipe that disappointed on many levels. I used it as a very loose starting point. My version got two thumbs up from me and the man I’ve been happily married with for 21 years, 11 months and 3.5 weeks. Yes, almost anniversary time for us!

CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, halved
6 medium carrots, 3 halved crosswise and 3 peeled and cut into half-moons
4 stalks celery, 2 halved crosswise and 2 cut into half-moons
10 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 large chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces, with the skin removed, wings left with skin on
2 quarts water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 piece ginger (about 1 inch)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste, optional
Freshly ground black pepper, for serving
noodles of your choice, amount to taste

Heat the oil in your pressure cooker, add the shallots, and the large pieces of carrots and celery, season lightly with salt and pepper. Sautee until fragrant.

Add the chicken pieces, but do not include the breast. Add water, peppercorns, soy sauce and ginger. Make sure the water covers all the pieces of meat. Close the pressure cooker, and cook under pressure for 30 minutes. Release the pressure by running cold water over the lid, or if using the Instant Pot, use the rapid release method.

Strain the liquid passing it through a fine sieve. Discard all solids. You should have at least 8 cups of stock, if you have less, add water to complete the volume. Place the liquid back in the pressure cooker, or use another large stockpot. Add the breasts to the stock, then the pieces of carrots and celery reserved earlier. Simmer very gently until the breast is cooked through – it might take 20 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts.

Cook the noodles al dente and rinse them in cold water. Reserve. You’ll need about 2 cups cooked noodles for the full amount of soup.

When the breast meat is cooked, remove to a plate and shred the meat with a fork. Add it back to the stock, and add the cooked noodles. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, and squirt a little lemon juice right before serving.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I made this soup three times during this winter. First time I was worried that the noodles would get too mushy if left in the broth for a day or two, so I was trying to add them to just the amount of soup we would consume in that meal. But, there’s really no need to do that. It turns out they hold pretty well in the fridge. I just try to cook them JUST to the al dente stage.

The pressure cooker does a beautiful job intensifying flavors, so the soup is very satisfying and has a bright flavor due to the ginger and lemon. I hope you give it a try, either with a pressure cooker or the Instant Pot.

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CHICKEN POBLANO TORTILLA SOUP

I don’t know why it took me so long to make this soup, as it is so popular. Every year I see countless examples in magazines, cookbooks, websites, and food blogs. And what makes it really painful is that we both loved it. Almost 13 years blogging. A chicken-tortilla-soup-virgin. No more.

CHICKEN POBLANO TORTILLA SOUP
(slightly adapted from Averie Cooks)

6 whole tomatillos, husks removed
3 whole poblano peppers
olive oil spray and a little salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium shallot, diced small
6 cups low or no-salt added chicken broth
1 can (14.5-ounce) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 + 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tortilla chips or strips, for garnishing

Roast the veggies: line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray the tomatillos and poblanos with some olive oil and season lightly with salt. Place in a 450F oven and roast until lightly charred. The tomatillos need less time in the oven, remove them when ready, allow the poblanos to roast further. Transfer the tomatillos into a blender, and process until still a bit chunky.

When the poblanos are well charred, transfer them to a plastic bag and seal. That will steam them making it easier to remove the skin. Remove the skin and seeds, cut the poblanos into slivers. Reserve. Add a very small amount of oil (2 tsp or so) into a small non-stick skillet, when very hot add the frozen kernels of corn, saute seasoning with a little salt until golden. Reserve.

Heat the remaining oil in a large stock pot, sauce the shallots for 5 minutes, add the broth, tomatoes, chicken, chili, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Simmer for a couple of minutes, add the reserved poblanos and corn. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes in very gentle heat.

Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir nearly constantly.

Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve with tortilla chips or strips.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was so delicious, I am kicking myself for never trying this soup until now. The chicken was leftover from a clay pot roasted chicken, which I made after brining it overnight in buttermilk. It was one of the best clay pot concoctions of the recent past, and I shall share with you in the near future. But any roast chicken will do, so grab one in the grocery store if you want to make it really easy on you.

This soup is a meal in itself. Nothing else needed. Satisfying, complex, the tortillas and the corn offer that small amount of carbs that will keep you happy but not feeling heavy and lethargic. We absolutely loved it, and I hope you’ll give it a try…

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POTATO SOUP WITH SPICY SHRIMP

I suppose this could be some type of a personal record. I’ve had this recipe on my list of “must make” for 9 years. I know that for a fact because I used to subscribe to Food and Wine magazine and when I got that issue I could not wait go to the kitchen and make it.  Apparently I was wrong. I can wait like a pro. But better late than never, I share with you a recipe that is quite simple to put together, and results in a creamy, satisfying soup that surprisingly does not have a single drop of heavy cream. I hope you’ll give it a try.

POTATO SOUP WITH SPICY SHRIMP
(adapted from Food and Wine magazine, December 2010)

1/8 cup + 3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
Kosher salt
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
One 8-ounce baking potato, peeled and cut in chunks
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and halved horizontally
2 teaspoons rose harissa (or regular harissa)
parsley leaves to serve (optional)

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the shallots and celery and a pinch of salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring, until barely softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Strain the broth into a bowl and transfer the veggies to a blender. Add 1/8 cup of the olive oil and 1 cup of the broth and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the pot. Stir in the remaining broth and season with salt. Bring the soup back to a simmer over moderate heat.

In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with the harissa and the remaining  tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt. Add the shrimp to the soup and cook just until they are pink and curled. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with the parsley and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I have not stopped kicking myself for taking so long to try a recipe that I knew was going to be a winner. The blending of potatoes with the olive oil gives the soup such a luscious texture that you will swear there is a cup of heavy cream in there. But… there isn’t.

We had this soup on my beloved’s Birthday, it felt truly festive and special. We also had lobster tails on the grill, and there were leftovers of both soup and lobster. Guess what? Next day this turned into a Spicy Lobster Potato Soup. And it was outstanding too.  I see some crab in a future experiment.

Final comment: the soup calls for two types of potato. Yukon Golds are not very starchy, but have great taste. The baking potato brings the starchy component that helps thicken the soup, so don’t omit it.

After getting a comment from the one and only Dangerspouse, I should mention that you should consider making a quick shrimp stock to use in this soup, if you’d like to pump up the seafood flavor.  I shared a quick recipe for it not too long ago.

 

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AVGOLEMONO SOUP, MY WAY

At the risk of being blocked from entering Greece, I share my version of this legendary classic. I took a few liberties with it, so be prepared. I hope they won’t confiscate my passport because Greece is one spot of this planet I want to go back to. My only visit was too long ago, back in 1994, with my very dear friend Gabi. That was one week that I can live to be 100 and will never forget. How fitting that this post is published on her day…  Happy Birthday, Gabi!

AVGOLEMONO SOUP
(inspired by Jeff Mauro’s The Kitchen)

2 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup red quinoa
2 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon lemon zest plus 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Chopped fresh parsley
fried shoestring carrots for topping (optional)

In a large stockpot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the chicken breasts and then lower to a simmer. Simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes; remove to a bowl. Once cooled, shred the chicken and reserve.

Add the rice and quinoa to the pot with the chicken stock and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and most of the lemon juice, reserving some to add later. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Once combined, ladle in some hot stock to temper the egg mixture, whisking constantly and adding the hot liquid slowly. Very slowly, add the warm whipped egg/lemon mixture into the pot, whisking constantly to prevent any curds or clumps from forming. Continue to cook over medium-low to medium heat, whisking, until the soup thickens, about 5 to 8 minutes more.

Add the shredded chicken and any reserved juices to the soup. Add the lemon zest and season with salt and plenty of freshly cracked black pepper. Taste and add additional lemon juice if needed. Add parsley and serve with fried carrots on top, if so desired.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

 

Comments: This recipe was featured in a recent The Kitchen show, and I was intrigued by the fact that it is supposed to taste super creamy while being quite low in fat. The full amount of soup contains only two egg yolks. No butter, no cream, no sour cream, nothing. It is also very lemony, therefore the name avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup. The chicken and rice would almost be bystanders. Think of an egg drop soup, but one in which the eggs form a nice emulsion with the broth. Jeff Mauro started “messing” with the classic by adding orzo instead of rice. I say, if he can do it, so can I! Into mine went some red quinoa. But the real shocker came when I topped it with air-fried carrots.

 

This was so so good, I am glad I tried it. To be completely honest, credit should go to my beloved partner. I had planned to serve the carrots on the side just as added fun to our dinner. He grabbed a bunch and topped his soup with it. It looked interesting, and then his reaction made me do the same. Big wow moment!  If you have an air-fryer, consider preparing a bunch of these carrots to add to soups. Or salsas, or whatever. They are tasty, and addictive. Perhaps not as Greek as Pythagoras, but I bet he would have enjoyed them on top of his avgolemono…

 

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LENTILS AND RADICCHIO? YES, PLEASE!

I bet many of my readers will consider clicking away from the blog right now, because… lentils? Not the most popular item in the pantry. Radicchio? Not the veggie that jumps into the grocery cart of most shoppers. Both together? Thanks, but no thanks. Can I ask you to trust me on this? Actually it’s not even me you should trust, but someone with a lot more gastronomic fame: Melissa Clark. And credit should actually go to my beloved husband who not only found the recipe but made it for our dinner. So basically I am  giving to charity from other people’s wallets. But hey, I am the resident blogger. So there!

LENTIL SOUP WITH RADICCHIO SLAW
(adapted from Melissa Clark)

for topping:
half a radicchio head, thinly sliced
drizzle of olive oil
lemon juice to taste
1 avocado, diced very small
salt and pepper to taste
for soup:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 cup green lentils
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lemon, more to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Make topping and reserve in fridge by mixing all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Make the soup: In a large pot, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat until hot and shimmering. Add onion and garlic, and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, cumin, salt, black pepper and sauté for 2 minutes longer.

Add broth, 2 cups water, lentils and carrot. Bring to a simmer, then partially cover pot and turn heat to medium-low. Simmer until lentils are soft, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt if necessary.  Using an immersion or regular blender or a food processor, purée half the soup then add it back to pot.  

Stir in lemon juice and cilantro. Serve soup and add a generous amount of radicchio slaw on top.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This soup was excellent served with a mixed olive sourdough (recipe published not too long ago in the blog, click here if you’ve missed it). I find it a bit hard to decide if the topping made the soup or if it would shine as brightly on its own. A perfect combination. We had leftover radicchio slaw, and found ourselves munching on small amounts once our bowls of soup were appropriately empty. Next day we improvised a full salad with the other half of the radicchio head, adding a bunch of goodies we had in the fridge.

We mixed radicchio, tomatoes, olives, and avocados together. Dressing was kept simple again, olive oil and lemon juice, right before serving we added a tiny touch of white balsamic vinegar. OMG this was good. Later on we decided that capers would have been perfect, and of course some feta cheese or other sharp cheese of your choice.


Simple dinner… Red snapper, a little rice and this tasty salad… 

The secret with radicchio is to allow it to sit with the dressing for a little while, or warm it up very very briefly to soften the leaves. But that is another method that I intend to share in the near future. The great thing about this preparation is that leftovers keep very well in the fridge for 24 hours. My lunch next day was this salad with a fried egg, sunny side up. I was a happy camper.

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