If you can believe it, the second recipe post was poorly written back in March of last year, we made a little thing called Chicken Orzo soup. If you scroll back past uglier photos and increasingly grammatically incorrect babbling you will see this post titled A Let It Rain. And Clear It Out. What have we learned since the start of this nonsensical chronicle? For any food related lessons learned you might have to read along, but for the most part we have remained steadfast in our utter hate of pre-made soups. We certainly have not held ourselves to the soup szn parameters of Labor day to Thanksgiving. The Blacklist got old fast and we moved onto better Netflix binges, but watching TV scared every Sunday is still a fun tradition. The good news is we might have grown up, the sign hanging in the lab displaying 'days without a regrettable drunk text' shows multiple months of properly timed text messages.
- 16 oz. cheese tortellini
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped white onion
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 4-6 cups water
- salt & pepper
Vegetable broth (purchase & skip ahead if you dare)
What we have here is all of the scraps from the peeling of the carrots, trimming of the celery, the center (skinny) cloves of garlic, the cutting and removing of the paper around the onion. This is in essence trash, however after learning about the Native Americans back in the 3rd grade I learned to use all part of the animal or in this case a vegetable.
Toss with olive oil and salt. Preheat your oven to a cool 450 °F and roast your undesirables for 20 minutes.
Drop the roasted vegetable misfits into 4-6 cups of hot water and simmer covered for an 1-2 hours.
Remove the vegetables and lay to rest in the trash can as they have served their purpose. Relocate the liquid to a separate container and keep for up to 3-5 days.
The Main Event
Cube the boneless skinless chicken thighs, salt and pepper liberally.
In previous recipes we used bone-in skinless thighs, this was a mistake. In the end there is a nice broth with a braised piece of chicken that doesn't resemble much of a soup. Post cooking there is extra work to be done shredding chicken and placing it back into the soup. If you want a richer chicken flavor add chicken bones during the vegetable stock, or just use chicken broth.
Brown on high heat, don't bother trying to cook these through as they will finish in the soup.
*In college I got in an argument with a lesser minded group of people over the necessity of browning meat such as this. They struggled to argue the need to 'kill' food born parasites, claiming dropping raw meat into a liquid would result in a disease ridden cooking liquid! I would absolutely encourage everyone to brown thy meats as this adds flavor and locks in moisture, but don't fall into the same trap these albeit losers. Just like using a crock pot (piece of shit) you can drop raw meat into the hot liquid with the only requirement being heating the liquid and most importanly center of each piece to 165 °F.
Set aside the browned chicken cubes on a paper towel to remove excess fat.
Take uniformly chopped carrots, celery and onion and brown in the rendered chicken fat.
I left the garlic whole here to add a slight flavor of garlic, the finer the chop the more flavor each bite will have.
Add back in the chicken thighs to the browned veggies.
Place the bound bay leaf & thyme in the soup, I also added marjoram leaves into the soup for flavor and color.
Add the vegetable broth and let simmer for about an hour, the longer you leave this on the heat the more mushy your vegetables will get.
Another step I stole from some forgettable TV cook was too cook the pasta in the broth, however still removing it and setting aside for future use. This ensures the pasta does not absorb too much of the liquid and stays firm/non-mushy.
Add a little Parmesan cheese to this for an extra bit of awesome. Enjoy.