Monday, March 23, 2009

Chicken Soup: The Strange and Wonderful Edition

I'm not going to lie, this soup is weird. And weird is just what the doctor ordered yesterday. I woke up feeling a little under the weather and knew right away it was going to be a chicken soup kind of day. While browsing through some old issues of Cooking Light, I came across a most unusual soup. I read the list of ingredients and immediately thought: turnips? thyme? chicken? cheese? ... yeah, that sounds about right! And, happily, it was.

More happiness ensued when I realized I was in possession of some yummy Kerrygold Aged Cheddar cheese to add to the soup. While the original recipe called for reduced-fat cheddar, I opted for the rich and creamy Kerrygold and reduced the amount slightly. I've altered the recipe significantly, both the method of preparation and list of ingredients, to suit my tastes. Chief among those tastes was my complete disinterest in boiling a whole chicken to create the broth. I went straight for a mixture of canned chicken and vegetable broths and the results were magnificent.

The original recipe appears in the January/February 2000 issue of Cooking Light - below is my adapted version.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup with Turnips:
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks, trimmed, cleaned and chopped (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery, leaves included, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • some Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • dash of curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried summer savory
  • the leaves from 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 4 1/2 cups low-fat, reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2 1/2 cups of reduced sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups of peeled yellow turnip (rutabaga) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup of brown and wild rice mix (or use either rice alone)
  • 2 cups of shredded, cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup of fat free Half and Half
  • 1/4 cup of non-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese, such as Kerrygold Aged Cheddar, plus some additional for garnish
  • some chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Heat the oil in a large soup or stock pot over medium high heat. Add the leeks, shallot, celery, carrots, a pinch of salt and a generous grating of fresh black pepper, stir to combine. Add the dried basil, dried summer savory, the thyme and a dash of curry powder and saute for approximately 5 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the chicken broth, vegetable broth, turnips and rice mixture and bring the soup to the boil. Once it has boiled, reduce the heat, cover and allow the soup to simmer for 30 minutes or until the turnips and rice are tender.

Using a slotted spoon, remove half of the turnips to a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Return the mashed turnips to the soup and stir well to incorporate. Add the cooked chicken, the Half and Half, the milk and 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, stirring until the cheese has melted. Allow the soup to cook for 5 minutes or so, until the chicken is thoroughly heated. Taste the soup for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Ladle the soup into a serving bowl, garnish with some additional shredded cheddar cheese and a dusting of chopped fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy!

As written, this recipe will serve 6. While it may not be the most photogenic soup on the block, I can tell you the flavor is extraordinary! So much so that the husband, who is not a fan of yellow turnips, downed two huge bowls of it. The turnips really mellow as they simmer and they lend a welcomed sweetness to the finished dish. Needless to say, I'll be submitting this one to Deb's Souper Sundays round-up on Kahakai Kitchen. I hope you'll try it!

Between the gallons of Airborne I downed yesterday, and this nutrient rich soup, I may just be able to nip this cold in the bud. Here's hoping anyway.

So, do you crave strange flavor combination when you're under the weather ... or is that just me? Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetit!


Tracy said...

This soup actually sounds really good, Diva. I hope you are feeling better today. It's so cold out though! When I have a cold, I love to eat spicy, brothy Thai soup.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Funny you should mention the spicy Thai soup, Tracy, as a spicy Asian beef noodle soup was my second choice. I let the husband vote though and, oddly enough, he picked this one. It was truly delicious though and I'm looking forward to having more of it for lunch today. :)

Ugh, you're right about the weather ... its ridiculous! Supposed to be a low of 20 tonight ... when will it end?!?

Anonymous said...

This does have a nice mix of flavors in it. Seems like all the herbs would be great to pull you out of a sick slump. Where do you even find savory???

pixelgal said...

When I'm under the weather I somehow crave scrambled eggs! Wierd city! But your soup sounds divine and just the thing for a day like today when it LOOKS like spring but isn't. What does one do when buying a bunch of leeks and only using two? Can they be frozen???? You also have a wonderful recipe for leek and potato soup too, don't you?

The Diva on a Diet said...

Duo - the dried savory that I have at present came from a wonderful little herb shop in upstate NY. I think the major herb brands do sell it though, if I'm not mistaken. If not, perhaps try Whole Foods?

pixelgal - good question about the leeks ... my market sells them in bunches of three, so I do have one leftover. If you remember my carrot soup recipe, you could use it in that. If not, they make a nice addition to any soup or sauce. Or you could do a layered leek and potato dish, baked, like the one I used to make for Thanksgiving.

Cookie Brochette said...

That looks like a nice thick soup. I hope it does the trick! Feel better.

The Diva on a Diet said...

Cookie B. - what this soup really needs is a tiny little EB biscuit to go with ... :)

Anonymous said...

I hear you on knowing when you need chicken soup! I woke up this morning, with a rare hangover, (experimenting with mai tai's last night) and knew it was exactly what I needed! I made a thai-coconut chicken soup with gads of ginger, garlic and lemongrass. Your soup sounds so good too! I think I still have a bunch of root veggies in the garden......

Heavenly Housewife said...

Hey diva, hope you are feeling better. Sorry to hear about you not feeling that great. New York is absolutely arctic, even more so than England. When I was there in Feb at one point my hands and face were so cold, I was on the verge of tears!!! I just hate cold (I'm from Florida).
Anyways thanks again for the Sisterhood award. I hope this is allowed, but I am giving you one too, cause "your worth it" daaaling. Of course you dont have to do another blog about it, just think of it as another tiara for your collection :D
Check it out on my latest blog:

Vintage Kitten said...

You are a naughty Diva, you always make me hungry when I stop by. Im sure I put on weight just looking at your delicious meals and this one is no exception, I love soup as its a good excuse to eat lots of bread YUM! X

Resveritol said...

That's quite an unusual chicken soup but it sounds very healthy. Hope you enjoyed it.

The Diva on a Diet said...

danazia - Welcome! Mai Tai's will do it to you every time. Sounds like you cooked up just the right thing to cure yourself. Yummy!

Heavenly Housewife - aw, thanks! I'll accept with pleasure! :)

Vintage Kitten - as if you aren't a naughty one yourself with all those yummy treats and cocktails! LOL

Deb said...

Feeling under the weather is probably the only time I don't crave any food. I love to eat and always look forward to it until I'm sick and then I could care less.


The Diva on a Diet said...

Deb - I have to be really, really sick to lose my appetite ... and it doesn't happen often! LOL

Debinhawaii said...

Interesting combo. I have not cooked much with turnips but this soup sounds really tasty. Hope you are feeling better and thanks for coming to Souper Sunday--just got the round up posted.