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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday Dinner #4- Chicken Minestrone Soup

This is another one from "100 Great Vegetarian Recipes". Although I de-vegetarianized it by making it with chicken.

Yesterday, I was at Big Y grabbing the ingredients for this soup before picking up Paul at work. I was super hungry, and didn't feel like cooking anything when we got home. I succumbed to the ready-made meal counter, and ended up buying a whole rotisserie chicken, or as Big Y calls it, "the super bird". It smelled really good, and I could see the real flames shooting up under the spit in the cooking machine.

Buying the whole chicken turned out to be a pretty sweet deal. It was $12, with a silver coin. The meat was really juicy and delicious, and satisfied my body's lust for complete proteins. Mmm...so many amino acids. It gave us enough meat for probably 2-3 dinner-type meals. Plus, the carcass made for about 8 cups of homemade chicken broth. I don't really feel bad about eating chicken. I'm not too strict about my vegetarian observance, which, i guess, shows that the animal treatment angle doesn't play too heavily into my eating decisions. People do ask me sometimes why I wanted to go veggish. I think it was mostly just wanting to eat a healthier diet, and wanting to save money on grocery bills.

Mah Broth Recipe
1 Whole Chicken, with the meat carved off
1 Onion, chopped
2 Celery, chopped
1 Tbsp Rosemary
1 Tbsp Thyme
Salt and Pepper

Place the chicken bonez in a big pot. Cover them with cold water. Add everything else, seasoning to taste. Bring to a Boil.
Once boiling, reduce to low heat. Simmer for 4 hours, stirring occasionally and skimming excess froth off the top.

Drain the broth into a bowl. You can save some of the meat that got boiled off of the bone, and add it to your soup. There are two big benefits of making broth like this. One, homemade broth is delicious. Two, it makes it easy to find the wishbone!

I haven't done the wishbone since I was really little. It's currently drying out on the windowsill. That was always the hard part as a kid, waiting for the bone to dry to play the game. I'll let you know who gets a wish once Paul and I match our thumbs in battle!

Now, on to the soup. This Minestrone is a great soup for summer, because it has all these awesome seasonal vegetables. It's loaded with so many delicious goodies; veggies, taters, noodles, beans...and it's actually healthy for you too. It serves 4.

4 ripe tomatoes, diced
3 Tbsp Olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 zucchini
1 can of canelli beans
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup pasta

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. I used the awesome wok that Meredith and Matt gave us as a wedding present. It's the perfect size for this.

Add the onions, and cook until they are transparent. Add the carrot and potatoes next. Stir them often for about 4 minutes. Then add the celery and zucchini, and cook for about 3 minutes more.

Finally, add the beans and the tomatoes. Stir well. Add this final mixture to your chicken stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat again, and simmer for 40 minutes. Add the pasta (uncooked) and heat for 10 more minutes.

This soup is extra tasty with fresh grated parmesan cheese on top.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but this soup came out amazing. It was so so good, Paul and I both had seconds. I think a big part of the extra deliciousness was the homemade broth, it made a difference. It was fun cooking something completely from scratch too, it made me feel very domestic.
The best news of all is that there are leftovers!

Also, I finished reading Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternack today. I give it a 5.5/10. I'm thinking I might of enjoyed it more if the translation was a little better. It had some awesome scenes, some good plot twists, and interesting characters. But so much of it was heavy handed and ponderous. and sad. Too sad for the first days of spring. I do feel like I know more about the revolutions in Russia now, and that's a plus.


  1. This looks delicious. I've always been too afraid do make my own broth, but after this post (and considering I live with the chicken king) maybe I should just suck it up and try it. What would you suggest as a replacement for the potato? I don't like regular potatoes; do you think a sweet tater would work as well?

    Hey, and thanks for the shout out! Glad that wok has gotten some good use! Matt will be especially pleased it went toward chicken.

  2. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Chicken makes (almost) everything better.

  3. Meredith-

    I would not recommend sweet potatoes. The soup is pretty dominated with an acidy tomato flavor, and I feel like they might go weird together.

    Paul suggests corn instead, if you're looking for a good starch friend.