Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Chicken tortellini soup

Oh, I have covered chicken soup TO DEATH! I know it, you know it, all five people who read this know it. But wait! This time I put tortellini pasta in it! Mm-hmm, it's true! Also, I took a "less is more", precision soup-making approach...and I think the end result was a different soup than ones I have made in the past. Refine refine refine.

I don't know how you would make soup without a chicken. We roasted it on Monday night, so I had a nice looking leftover chicken carcass to boil up. If you are not a chicken eater or a chicken roaster, I suppose you could skip this whole first step and use vegetable stock or chicken stock. There are some good brands out there, I imagine. I have seen some good looking organic, aseptically packaged ones on the shelves at the grocery store. Anyway, I first stripped down my left over chicken and reserved the meat from the thighs and breast and stuck it in the fridge and forgot about it. Then I covered the leftover chicken bones and meat with water in my big cast iron dutch oven pot and let it heat up while I chopped up the rest of the ingredients for the stock. Tossed in 2 bay leaves, then about 6 garlic cloves. I didn't really peel or chop them very carefully because I knew I would be straining the stock anyway. Then a 1" piece of ginger, cut up into chunks, and 3 carrots (left unpeeled) and 4 stalks of celery, both also poorly chopped. Can you sense a theme? Stock making is the easy-going step--no need to carefully trim the veggies! It all boiled happily together for about an hour, whereupon I strained it through a fine-mesh colander into a container and set it aside to wait.

To make the soup: Back in the same dutch oven, I melted 2 tablespoons of butter and added 1/2 of a sad-looking onion. It was from Jeremy & Melanie's house and was looking a little bit tired but I trimmed it up and carefully sliced it into small, attractive bits, then added to the hot butter. I also carefully diced 2 stalks of celery and 2 carrots and added those to the pot after the onion had become soft and fragrant. Stirred this mirepoix over medium heat until it was soft, then added in 2 yukon gold potatoes, diced. Poured back in my stock and added some salt. When everything had been boiling together for about 10 minutes, I added 1/2 a package of mixed cheese tortellini, let it go for another 5 minutes and added about 1/4 cup of green peas. Cooked until the tortellini were done through, then removed the soup from heat and stirred in 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar and the diced chicken meat from earlier. I actually forgot about the chicken until the last minute--I was dishing up the soup and Brian was poking around in the fridge, and he says "hey, what's the chicken for?" and I said, "oh shit, that's right!" We know how to have fun around here.

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