Springy Chicken Soup Plus MVK’s *Like* of the Week

I’m baacckk!! I know some of you missed your weekly Wednesday recipe as some friends had mentioned they hadn’t received something from me in a while. I hope that translates to most of my readers! After writing 272 blog articles for five (five!) years, I really felt a need for a break. It’s nice to just cook without the thought of having to write about it! And meals at home, when I’ve been home, have been simple, nothing fancy, along with a few duds. But now that we’ve turned the corner into spring, I’m feeling like getting back into the kitchen and cooking and writing about it!

But even though the calendar says it’s May and springtime, doesn’t mean the weather is cooperating! After a warmer than normal winter, I’m finding the spring colder than normal. Even when it’s sunny outside, there is still a nip in the air and wind. I spent a few days the first week of the month in New York City and regretted the fact I didn’t have my winter coat with me! Even today as I write this, they have snow predicted in the forecast! #Truth! So the days of soup and other cold weather comfort foods aren’t over yet, but this recipe has a springy twist to it!

I love having romaine lettuce in a soup and I don’t use it enough; it adds a certain lightness and freshness to a soup that you don’t get from spinach or kale. Any chicken soup is comfort in a bowl for me and this was really delicious and using chicken thighs adds much more flavor than white meat. Instead of using fresh thyme, I added about a half teaspoon of dried. This came together quickly on a weeknight and certainly warmed my insides from the cold, damp weather outside. With springtime ingredients like the leeks and peas, it gave me a reminder and faith that yes, warmer weather will be coming. When? I’m just not sure!

springy chickenSpringy Chicken Soup

This recipe first appeared in the May issue of Cooking Light magazine.

1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
1 cup thinly sliced leek
1 cup thinly diagonally sliced carrot
4 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
3 large thyme sprigs
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups torn romaine lettuce
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)

1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from pan.

2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add leek and carrot; sauté 5 minutes. Add stock and thyme; bring to a boil. Cover and cook 8 minutes or until carrot is almost tender. Stir in chicken, peas, pepper, and salt; cook 3 minutes. Remove thyme; discard. Remove pan from heat; stir in lettuce and parsley. Place 1 1/2 cups soup in each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese.

MVK’s *Like* of the Week: Meet the Orb Weaver Cheesemakers!
Orb%20Weaver%20DSC02437%20cowI consider myself lucky beyond belief that I live in a part of Vermont where cheese (and the cows!) and their makers are close by. Orb Weaver Cheese can be found in my tiny town and their cheese is delectable. And for 30 years, the farm has been run by just two women!

This is a great story on Marian and Marjorie’s beginnings and the process of making their cheese. You can read the story here.



Recipe Revisit: Spring Matzo Ball Soup

DSCN4285As I was trying to decide what I was going to write about this week, I decided to revisit the very first recipe I shared three years ago, my Spring Matzo Ball Soup, which I actually made for lunches this week. Chicken soup of any sort is comfort in a bowl for me, and adding dumplings, noodles, or in this case, matzo balls, makes it all the more comforting.

I took my original recipe and added and subtracted a few ingredients based on what I had on hand. I usually have some homemade chicken broth in the freezer, but you can certainly make this with boxed broth. I love the flavor of the added fresh dill, it tastes like summer to me, but of course, it’s optional, or you can use another herb. Carrots, celery, and onion are a classic soup combination, but I’ve also added turnip and parsnip if I have it on hand. And if you have some leftover chicken in the fridge, by all means throw it in!

Our early spring, along with our winter, has been terribly chilly, so a big bowl of this for lunch is what Mother Nature ordered!


Spring Matzo Ball Soup
Since the matzo mixture needs to rest for at least 20 minutes, make that first before you start working on the soup. I like my soups less brothy, so you may want to use more.

5+ cups chicken broth
2 tsp. olive oil
I cup carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup celery stalks, diced
1 cup onion, diced
A splash or two of white wine (optional)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
A few snips of fresh dill weed
Salt and pepper
Matzo ball mix (see recipe below)

1. In a large Dutch oven, warm the olive oil, and add the vegetables. Saute until soft.

2. Add in the broth, wine (if using), and tomato paste. Bring it to a boil.

3. When the matzo is ready, wet your hands and form matzo into round, one inch balls (about 7-8) and place on top of the soup. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Add the dill weed, if using, at the last minute.

Homemade Matzo Balls
I can’t take credit it for this, my good friends at Manischewitz can, as it is what I follow when I make matzo balls. They are the best!

2 eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 c. matzo meal
1/2 teaspoon of salt (I usually leave out)
2 tablespoons water or broth
A little bit of fresh dill weed

Beat the eggs, blend the eggs with the oil, matzo meal, salt, and dill weed. Add broth or water, mix until uniform. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.