It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the holidays. I’m talking about cold and flu season.
We’re all running around preparing for out of town visitors, shopping, baking, cleaning. Let’s not forget Turkey Tournaments (you hockey moms know what I mean).
Then throw in the crazy weather. The severe snow storm we had days before Halloween was a bit much, even for New England. We have a saying here in the Northeast. “If you don’t like the weather…Wait a minute”.
It’s more important than ever that you take the time to take care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep, exercise, wash your hands often and eat right. Blah, blah, blah.
I make this soup at the beginning of the week to bring to work for lunch. It’s easy, delicious and good for you. Scientific research says chicken soup can help fight cold symptoms. It may possibly have anti-inflammatory properties and can help make coughs more productive by stimulating mucous.
Sorry I said mucous in a food post.
This recipe is not an exact science. You can follow it to the letter or tweek it however you wish.
Chicken Tortellini Soup
3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (feel free to use chicken with a bone. It gives a bit more flavor, but more work at the end)
3 large carrots, peeled, cut into 3 large pieces
1 large yellow or sweet onion, cut into quarters
3 celery stalks, include the leaves if you have them
5 chicken bouillion cubes, low sodium
10 cups water
ground pepper or whole peppercorns
a couple sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley (or 1 Tbls dried)
1 small head of escarole (or any favorite green)
1/2 c. small shaped pasta (I use the little bow ties or ditalini)
1 c. dried tortellini (I use the Barilla cheese)
Throw everything, except the escarole and the pastas into a large pot. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for an hour or so. You don’t want the carrots to get mushy.
Prepare the pasta and escarole While the stock is simmering.
I try to consolodate, so I boil a pot of water and cook the small shape pasta until it is VERY al dente, then I throw in the tortellini which takes no time at all to cook and I cook it until it still has a bit of a bite to it. The key is not to let your pasta overcook or it will turn your soup to mush. Remember it will continue to cook a bit after it goes into your soup. Coooking them together like that saves a a pot and step because you drain them together. They’re all going in the same place anyway.
You’re going to blanch the escarole a little, so get a pot ready with a little bit of water boiling on the stove. Give the escarole a good wash. I find it tends to be really dirty on the interior. Discard the outside leaves and cut off the base, then just roughly chop and toss in the boiling water for about 2 minutes until it is a nice bright green. Remove from water, drain and squeeze.
When stock is done, strain into another pot. Remove the chicken and chop it up or just tear it with your hands. Slice the carrots into chunks. I leave them big because my husband doesn’t like them, so they are easier to fish out. But feel free to cut them into any size or even mash with a fork. Then just throw the chicken, carrots, pastas and escarole into the broth. Add salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.