Monday, October 15, 2012

Sunday Dinners: One Chicken Soup of my Soul

On Saturday, soup was on my mind. Maybe it's because I'm leaving this evening Barcelona for a week (YAY!) or perhaps because unlike Sunday in New York--which was balmy--Saturday was a bit brisk, or maybe my soup craving stemmed from a combination of both. After all, now that my kiddies are grown up--for the most part--it's my parents that I worry about most...and soup = comfort, for so many reasons.

At any rate, while I was working at work at school on Saturday, I was thinking about chicken soup! In fact, though yes, I did pay attention as I was observing my students and their teachers, I was also planning. I knew that cooking time was limited, but wanted tortellini to play a role. Actually, one of my mom's favorite soups is Tortellini en Brodo (traditionally tortellini in capon broth!). I planned to change it up a bit with some chicken, and more--and knew it had to be a quick version so that we could eat by 6:30.

So... right after work, I picked up my fresh flat-leaf parsley, fresh spinach, and a pack each of chicken breasts and thighs, frozen tortellini, parmesan cheese, and fresh bread.  (I had the tomatoes, carrots, and some TJs excellent-quality chicken broth at home.)

Well, my friends, dinner was on the table at 6:30! (And, my parents were happy!)

Chicken Soup with Tortellini and Spinach

Serves 6 to 8

Canola oil
1 clove of garlic (or to taste), minced
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
2 packages (about 3 pounds) of chicken, diced into smaller chunks
White wine
Chicken broth (about 1 quart)
2 cups diced carrots, or half a bag of baby carrots
Cheese tortellini (1 pound)
Spinach (one bunch, coarsely torn or chopped)
1 pound of grape or cherry tomatoes (optional), halved
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh-grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese

Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a stock pot. Sauté the garlic and onion for several minutes, or until the onion starts to soften. Add the chicken pieces and let cook about 4 minutes, and then flip (they should be brown on both sides, and just about cooked through; you'll finish cooking them in the soup). Add a splash of white wine to deglaze. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Add the carrots and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the carrots just start to soften. Add the tortellini and cook until the tortellini is al dente (so cooked, but not mushy). Add the diced tomatoes, spinach, and parsley. Turn the heat off, and let sit for a few minutes. Taste and season. Serve hot, in bowls with fresh crusty Italian bread, a leafy green salad, and fresh cheese to sprinkle on top.

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