Longing for a richly flavored, homemade chicken vegetable soup? Here are a few techniques that make creating one easy.
Richly Flavored Chicken Vegetable Soup
Yields a 5 quart Dutch oven full of chicken soup, enough for 8 bowls
2 and 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs, with bone and skin
1 pound carrots, scrubbed
1/2 pound parsnips, scrubbed
1 large red onion
1 large sweet onion
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 15 ounce can drained red kidney beans
1 15 ounce can drained bianchi or butter beans
1 bunch chard
2 bay leaves
2 Tablespoons dried thyme (you can alter the flavor profile by using dried herbs of your choice)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
64 ounces chicken stock or broth (I used Pacific Organic low sodium, but use your favorite)
Toss the chicken thighs, 1/2 pound of the carrots, cut into large chunks, 1/2 of the parsnips cut into large chinks, and the red onion cut into quarters with the olive oil and a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Tumble them all out onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees F for about one hour. There will be some caramelization that is the beginning of the rich flavor of this soup.
Remove the chicken thighs to a plate to cool sufficiently to handle.
Leave the vegetables on the rimmed baking sheet, and deglaze the pan over medium heat range-top with 16 ounces of the broth, scraping the brown bits up into the liquid.
Strip the chicken from the thighs (set aside for now) and add the bones to the rimmed baking sheet and cook the mixture over medium heat, reducing the liquid, which you will note is developing a nice brown color and a good aroma.
Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a 5 quart enamel over cast iron Dutch oven over medium heat and patiently caramelize the chopped large sweet onion. This takes about 20-25 minutes and you cannot rush the process.
Once the onions are a deep brown, add the remaining broth, and strain the broth that is in the rimmed baking pan into the Dutch oven as well. Remove the bones and dispose of them.
Add the remaining 1/2 pound carrots, cut into medium dice; the remaining parsnips, cut into medium dice; the drained beans, and the cut up chicken thigh meat.
Add thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaves.
Place the cut up vegetables from the rimmed baking sheet into your blender and blend with just enough broth to help the process of creating a smooth, roasted vegetable puree. I learned this tip years ago from Martha Stewart as a way to enrich Thanksgiving Day Turkey gravy!
Add the puree to the soup pot.
So, the techniques that help to create a rich flavor in little time are:
1. Roast dark meat chicken pieces on the bone.
2. Roast vegetables with the chicken.
3. Deglaze the roasting pan, add the chicken bones and reduce the liquid until dark and rich in color.
4. Add the puree of roasted vegetables to the soup pot.
5. Properly caramelize the sweet onion.
This soup is rich in chicken and vegetable flavor, savory with the flavor of thyme, and is richly satisfying comfort food for a chilly Fall or Winter day. Try adding pureed roasted vegetables to your gravy or sauce, as well–it will amplify the rich flavor.
Please share your tips and techniques for creating richly flavored soups, and, of course, share your thoughts and experiences with any of the recipes posted here. There is a Comments box located beneath each post.