This was my breakfast ... yes, warmed up from last night's Spice Garden birthday celebration. I mean really ... who else plans a hot bowl of creamy soup for a birthday party menu and then wakes up the next morning craving more? Me, because there can never be too many wonderful chicken soups and some of them are just so tasty that they lend themselves to a celebration ... and then some. This particular soup is a creamy broth full of chicken flavor and bits of green parsley. I love to make the soup and barely cook the potato cubes, so that they still have a bit of bite to them. Both Silent Bob and I like our soups full of vegetables and with meat bites that are chunky rather than tidbits ... more like a stew than a soup, but that would be mincing the words.
I begin this soup by using boneless chicken breasts - gimme the white meat. I poach the chicken (until it is just barely done) in the chicken stock with sprigs of tarragon. I love tarragon, but if you are one who doesn't, just leave it out. I use that same stock to add to the scalded milk, hence the cream of chicken broth.
I also love vegetables that have varying sizes in soups, hence big taters, medium onion bits, and small pepper pieces. My other theory is that cream soups need as much color as possible, so I am generous with the green ... in this case, parsley. Sometimes, I leave the egg yolks out of this soup, but they do add a richness that can't be beat. I left out the yolks for this version because I was feeling lazy about watching the soup carefully (and I was too busy drinking apple wine and knoshing other goodies!). The soup was fine without ... yum.
I like crackers in my soup too ... I think oyster crackers are the cutest little nibbles of crunch that you can get. I confess. I sometimes have two or three handfuls in one bowl of soup, dribbled in a few at a time and scooped up with a spoonful of broth while they still have good crunch. I know. I'm bad ... needless calories and all that stuff. Still, what would soup be without crackers (or bread or biscuits or ...) for sopping up that gorgeous broth? This recipe came out of our family cookbook. Lord knows where I got it, but I have it and now, I'm passing it on to you ... a little birthday gift from The Spice Garden!
Cream of Chicken Soup - printer friendly
Cream of Chicken Soup
Serves: 4 – 6
4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped - 3/4 inch dice
1 large onion, chopped – ½ inch dice
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 c. sweet red pepper, chopped – ¼ inch dice
2 c. milk
4 c. chicken stock
½ tsp. dried tarragon or 2 sprigs of fresh (optional)
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. dried parsley
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
Making the Soup:
In a soup pot –
1. Scald the milk.
2. Add the chicken stock and the dried tarragon. Heat thoroughly, but do not boil.
3. Add the potatoes and cook them gently over low heat with the cover off the pot.
In a sauté pan –
1. Melt the butter and add the onions. Sauté until the onions are glistening and semi-translucent.
2. Add the sweet pepper and sauté for only a minute or two.
3. Add the flour and parsley and stir to make a roux.
4. Add one cup of stock to the roux and stir to make a smooth sauce.
5. Turn the sauce into the soup pot and stir to blend thoroughly.
6. Add the chicken and salt and pepper. Simmer the soup gently until the potatoes are tender.
Just before serving –
1. Beat the egg yolks in a small bowl.
2. Add one cup of the hot soup stock to the eggs, whisking to combine.
3. Turn the egg mix back into the soup, turn off the heat, and stir in to incorporate.
4. Turn the soup into a tureen and serve immediately OR remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until serving time. If the soup is left on the heat, the eggs will curdle … that’s a no-no!
5. Reheat gently over simmering heat and watch carefully.