Hello NOLA locavores! For today's lunch idea, I've concocted a simple, restorative soup that showcases a rainbow of fresh market vegetables. Soup is one of my favorite things to eat for lunch, and is a great way to get lots of nutrients and stay hydrated. I've also been thinking of those doing the Eat Local Challenge who might be wondering how they can get a locally sourced meal during a workday lunch hour--make some soup on the weekend and take it to work for several days! And if you don't have a microwave at work for heating up soup, look up recipes for chilled soups like gazpacho, cucumber-yogurt, or even curried corn chowder. I bet you'll find something that floats your boat.
I made a chicken stock for this soup, but if you don't think you'll have time for that, just grab some pre-made chicken stock at Cleaver & Co. It's made from local chickens so it's acceptable for the challenge! And if you don't want chicken at all, just make a vegetable stock, or buy one (it might not be local but hey, everything else will be). Feel free to substitute different vegetables or herbs according to what you've got. This is a fairly light soup, so for a meal, I'd add some cheese and bread or a salad with fruit and nuts.
If you want to make a chicken stock but don't know how, here's the method I used. First, I roasted a chicken I bought at Hollygrove Market. I rubbed butter all over it and pushed some butter under the breast skin; seasoned all over and in the cavity with salt and pepper; and stuck some onion chunks, lemon quarters, and thyme sprigs inside the cavity. I tied the legs together, stuck the wingtips under the body, and roasted (uncovered) at 400 for 10 minutes, then reduced the heat to 375 for 60 more minutes. It's done when the juices run clear at the thigh bone.
I let the chicken cool a bit, then tore all the meat off the bones and set it aside to use in the soup later. I threw the whole chicken carcass, with skin (minus the lemons from the cavity) into an 8-quart soup pot. I added a few carrots, a few celery stalks, an onion, a tablespoon of peppercorns, some bay leaves, and thyme sprigs to the pot, then covered it all with water. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 3 hours, adding more water halfway through if necessary to end up with 3 1/2 quarts of stock. Strain through a sieve and return to the soup pot.
summer market chicken soup
- 3 1/2 quarts chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
- 2 leeks, washed well and thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups shredded kale, loosely packed
- 3 cups diced cooked chicken
- 2 bay leaves
- thyme sprigs, about 4
- salt and pepper to taste
- snipped chives, for garnish
- Heat the chicken stock in a large soup pot over medium-high heat.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and carrots and saute for a few minutes. Add the bell pepper, zucchini, squash, and garlic and saute until nearly tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the contents of the saute pan to the stock, along with the kale, chicken, bay leaves, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and let the flavors meld for about 10 minutes at a gentle simmer. Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper.
- Top each serving with chives.
makes 6 large servings