Lemon-Chicken Soup – A Hint of Spring on a Snowy Day
March 5, 2013
Aunt Suzy says . . .
Today demanded soup, but I’m in the mood for spring now that it’s March. I would not say spring is around the corner here in Minnesota as you can see by this predawn photo, but enough winter already! So here’s a soup that’s, well . . .a soup, but with many ingredients that taste of spring. Perfect for a day like today! Both Randy and I thought we almost couldn’t get enough. He wanted me to make sure to say that, in his opinion, this must be made with homemade stock, feeling that boxed or canned would diminish the light spring-like quality we loved so much. He also had an initial bad reaction to the idea of lettuce in a soup, saying that it’s like putting walnuts on a salad. After a few spoonfuls of the soup, he said that he must like walnuts on salad – hehe. So don’t be put off by the cooked romaine lettuce – it adds a light crunch and lovely vegetal flavor. Enjoy with a lemony Pinot Grigio and a baguette!
This recipe was inspired by one that I saw in a Food 52 email yesterday, but is highly adapted in both method and ingredients. Serves 8 (or 6 hearty eaters)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 scallions, white and green separated and sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small zucchini, small dice
1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and ground black pepper
9 cups chicken stock
1 small can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
zest of 1 lemon, Meyer if available
1 1/2-2 cups cooked green beans, cut in 2-inch pieces
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1/4 cup each fresh mint and fresh parsley, chopped (or more to taste)
2 cups dried pasta, small shapes (I used gemelli)
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Heat oil over medium heat in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. When shimmering, add the white part of the scallions and the celery. Cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until softened. Add the garlic zucchini, salt and pepper and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring. Add the chicken stock and chickpeas and simmer for about 10 minutes to blend flavors.
Meanwhile, cook pasta al dente according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Add the chicken, green beans, herbs and lemon zest to the soup pot and simmer till heated through, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to over-stir.
Right before serving, stir in the lettuce and lemon juice. Cook until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.
To serve, place a handful of cooked pasta into the bottom of a soup bowl. Ladle the soup into the bowl over the pasta. Garnish with a few slices of the green part of the scallions (and a few red pepper flakes if desired).