Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Low Fat Chicken Vegetable Soup: Feel Good Food

Delicious Chicken Vegetable and Vermicelli Soup
When I was a kid I hated soup, when I was in my twenties I did not believe in soups, now that I am in my thirties I find soups as necessary and delicious! My husband often reminds me how I told him "I don't believe in soups. They are trying to be a dish but they are just soups". I started dabbing with soups when we were living in Portland in the Northwest.

It rained 75% of the year over there and soup kind of found a way into my kitchen and never left. I guess the rainy cloudy grey weather dictates the presence of a steamy hot nutritious liquid. Soup also adopted me when I was trying to loose weight, I found that when I ate soup for lunch, I ate less at dinner time. Besides, I hate deciding on what to eat for lunch. I started making soups everyday and that way I started to reach less and less for the baguette and cheese (my ultimate favorite) and more and more to a hot steamy bowl of soup and tiny slice of French baguette. I often make chicken soup when one of us is feeling a bit under the weather. It is nutritious, delicious, can be ready under an hour and reheats beautifully (I have something against reheating chicken). Besides, you can customize the used vegetables to your liking. I like to add potatoes, carrots and peas. You can add chopped spinach, diced zucchini or sweet potatoes.

Yields to 4-5 bowls of soup

1 skinless chicken breast
4 tablespoons of olive oil 
3-4 peppercorn
1-2 bay leaf
2 stalks of celery
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
3 small potatoes 
2 carrots
1 cup of frozen peas
4 cups of low sodium chicken stock
1/3 cup of vermicelli or noodles
1/4 bunch of parsley
1 teaspoon of dry thyme
1 teaspoon of dry oregano
1 teaspoon of fresh marjoram (optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

You first need to boil the chicken. I like to first sautee the chicken before boiling it to make it more flavorful. In a soup pot, over medium heat, add one tablespoon of olive oil (reserve the rest for the vegetables). Add the clean and dry chicken breast. Sautee the chicken on both sides until lightly brown (approximately 1 minutes on each side).
Nicely browned chicken ready to be boiled

Lower the heat to medium low, cover the chicken with water, add 3-4 peppercorns and 1-2 bay leaves. let it cook for 30-45 minutes. 
Boiling the chicken
Once cooked, place the chicken in the plate to cool down and using two forks shred the chicken breast to small pieces.
Beautifully cooked chicken
Shredded chicken
Reserve the water used from boiling chicken, using a spoon, skim the white stuff off. Place the liquid in a fat separator. A fat separator is a cool kitchen tool that comes very handy when making stock and sauces. Because of its design, it strains the liquid from the bay leaves and peppercorns and allows the floating fat in a liquid to stay in the tool and the rest of the liquid can be poured.
Liquid reserved in the fat separator
Finely chop the onion, the celery and the garlic. Heat two tablespoons of oil on medium heat. Add the onion and celery and stir occasionally until golden brown. Add the garlic. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the reserved liquid and the chicken stock. While the stock is heating up, work on your vegetables.
Chopped onion

Chopped celery
I like to cook the potatoes before adding them to the stock. Peel the potatoes and make sure that you remove the potato eyes using your vegetable peeler. (if your vegetable peeler does not have an eye remover...then it is not a respectful vegetable peeler. Sorry).
Peeling the potatoes and removing the eyes.
Dice the potatoes and place them in a microwave safe plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and mix. Cook in the microwave for 6 to 8 minutes until soft. Set aside.
Diced potatoes
While the potatoes are cooking, peel the carrots and dice them. Once the stock is hot, add the diced carrots and the shredded chicken.

Finely chop the parsley and marjoram. Set aside.

Once The stock is hot again, add the frozen peas. Once the stock is close to come to a boil, lower the heat and add the cooked potatoes and let it simmer for 5 more minutes. Adjust salt and pepper according to taste. Turn the heat off. Add the dry vermicelli and the finely chopped parsley and herbs. The vermicelli will absorb some of the liquid without the need for direct heat. The soup will be ready in 5 minutes.
Dry vermicelli
Serve while hot with a dash of lemon juice and a piece of French baguette to soak up all this delicious stock.


No comments:

Post a Comment