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Monday, April 9, 2018

It's Always Soup Season: Lemony Chicken and Vegetable Soup

Beautiful photo by @lipglossandsweatpants

The fact that soup has become one of my favorite things to cook and eat, is pretty ironic, considering my first feeble attempts at soup making, and my general attitude that soup was not a real meal.  To me, soup had mostly been something to eat when you were sick, or cold, or too lazy to make anything more time consuming than pouring the contents of a can into a bowl and nuking it in the microwave.

Over the years, I have learned to appreciate soups as a year-round way to impart lots of nutrition into an easy to make and eat meal.  Like anything, learning a technique and plenty of practice are the way to achieve success, no matter the task at hand.  Soup is not just throwing a hodgepodge of ingredients into a pot and covering it with liquid.  Oh sure, this method may produce something that looks like soup, but will most likely taste like lumpy dishwater.  A tasty soup should be built with layers of flavor and quality ingredients.  To do this, all soups should begin with a base of aromatics such as onions, carrots and celery.  This is a classic mirepoix and is the base used in recipe I am featuring today.  Aromatic bases are not limited to mirepoix; many different cuisines have their own signature starters.  For example, Puerto Rican sofrito (peppers, onions and tomatoes) or Cajun holy trinity (onions, green bell pepper and celery).  Seasoning with salt, pepper and spices and tasting as you go are important.  If you are trying to reduce sodium, adding a splash of acid, such as lemon juice or apple cider vinegar will help to waken up the flavors in your pot.

The Lemony Chicken and Vegetable Soup on the menu today, was inspired by a client's love of roasted lemon-pepper chicken as well as the changing seasons.  It is officially spring on the calendar, and time to lighten up the flavors and colors in the soup pot. Enjoy and always remember to make every plate something to be passionate about!

Lemony Chicken and Vegetable Soup:

  • For Shredded Lemon Pepper Chicken:
  • boneless skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp lemon pepper
  • For Broth:
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), divided
  • small Sweet Onion chopped
  • carrots, sliced into thin coins
  • celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp Bragg's Sprinkle (or Italian Seasoning)
  • 3 cloves minced Garlic
  • yellow squash, chopped
  • zucchini, chopped
  • 1 quart Chicken Broth
  • Juice from 1 Lemon
  • 1 lemon for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • Cooking Instructions

    For Shredded Chicken:

    Sprinkle chicken with olive oil, lemon pepper and salt Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until cooked through. Internal temp should reach 165 degrees. Allow to cool and then shred.

    For Broth:

    In a large Dutch oven add olive oil, onion. carrots, celery, turmeric, black pepper and salt.. Sauté veggies over med/high heat 5-6 min, stirring occasionally, until Onions are translucent and softened.. Add Garlic and sauté 1 minute.

    Next, add in zucchini and squash. Stir to combine and then pour in chicken broth. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20 minutes.

    Finally, add in the shredded lemon pepper chicken and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Serve immediately and garnish with parsley and lemon slices, if desired.
  • **Make it vegetarian by subbing chicken broth for veggie broth and the chicken breast for two cans of your favorite white beans or chickpeas**

Nutrition Facts

  • Amount Per Serving (6 servings)

  • Calories 153
  • Total Fat 5g

  • Saturated Fat 1g

  • Trans Fat 0g

  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1g

  • Monounsaturated Fat 3g

  • Cholesterol 37mg

  • Sodium 1362mg

  • Total Carbohydrate 12g

    • Dietary Fiber 3g

    • Sugars 7g

  • Protein 15g

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