Oct 08

Chicken Soup with Rosemary and Roasted Vegetables

The seed of an idea for this soup started to germinate about a year ago. The casual mention of a recipe, in this instance for rosemary chicken and white bean soup, will bury itself in the back of my mind and slowly dig its way to the top over time.  You see, without an actual recipe in hand (and I often prefer it this way) I like to gradually mull over what the makings of a particular culinary creation might look like.  This takes time, and whether it is the better part of a year or just a few hours, somehow the recipe always seems to manifest right when it should.

I am marking the transition from summer to fall with a different soup each week. A few weeks ago, in the final throes of summer, I capped off the season with one of my favorite cold blended soups.  All raw ingredients, no use of the stove, and served in frosty glass bowls, it took the edge off the last three sweltering months.  Warm soups started to slowly appeal to me, but only if they were light bodied and primarily vegetable based. In the advent of Fall I have started to incorporate in more meat, but with the backdrop of an aromatic broth infused with herbs, wine and the dregs of summer produce.

As I peered into the fridge late Sunday for inspiration, it suddenly became clear how the rosemary chicken soup would come together.  Like most soups I make, this one started with a foundation of sautéed onions.  Along with several cloves worth of chopped garlic, I also added a generous pour of white wine that I reduced by half to concentrate its flavor.  Browned cubes of chicken and balsamic roasted chunks of zucchini and mushroom would boost the flavor of the soup’s broth, in this case chicken stock.  The woodsy fragrance of fresh rosemary permeates the soup in one large, finely chopped spoonful and takes the flavor in a Mediterranean direction.  Going with the flow, it seems only natural to throw in some oil cured sundried tomatoes and creamy chickpeas.  The resulting soup is rich, without being heavy, and perfectly filling for a Fall supper.

Wine Pairing: A full bodied Italian Nebbiolo with noticeable tannins, fragrant with red cherry and some herbal notes.

Recipe:

Ingredients

4 Chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

4 portabella mushrooms, diced

3 zucchini, diced

1 large onion, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 quarts chicken broth

3 C cooked chickpeas

½ C oil cured sundried tomatoes, drained and finely sliced

1 C white wine

olive oil

2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Heat a large soup pot over a medium flame and add olive oil just to coat the bottom. Sauté the onion until golden brown then add the chicken. Once it is browned, add the garlic and stir just until fragrant. Deglaze the pot with the wine and reduce the liquid by half.  Toss the zucchini and mushrooms in 2 Tbsp olive oil and the balsamic vinegar then spread them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the pan in the preheated oven and allow the vegetables to roast for about 20 minutes, or until just starting to brown.  Add the roasted vegetables to the pot along with the chickpeas, sundried tomatoes, rosemary and broth. Bring the soup to a simmer and allow to cook that way for about 30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and a swig of balsamic vinegar if desired.

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