[Not Tasty soup. Tasty is doing just fine as the prima donna only chicken.]
Goal: A (new to me) Chicken Soup.
I make chicken soup a lot. We like chicken soup. Franz finally caught the cold that Zach and I are mostly recovered from. Franz wanted chicken soup. I'm bored of my usual soups and wanted to experiment. I had a hankering for something lemony. Inspired by ingredients on hand and whatever caught my eye at the store, I searched the internet and found a couple recipes that inspired me, then I concocted the following.
chicken thighs: boneless, skinless, package of 6
1/3 c kosher salt
1 T brown sugar
1 to 2 bay leaves (preferably fresh)
1 T olive oil
1 shallot chopped fine
1 bunch green onions chopped fine
3 carrots diced
1 bunch red swiss chard stems and leaves chopped separately
1 bunch cilantro finely chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh or preservative-free organic bottled juice)
chicken stock (1 32 ounce box Imagine Organic chicken broth)
1 cup orzo uncooked
salt and pepper to taste
early in day
Brine the Chicken: combine 1 cup water, 1/3 cup kosher salt and 1 T brown sugar in saucepan, bring to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat, add several cups of cold water, add the chicken thighs and more water to cover as necessary. Cover pan and put in fridge.
2 hours before dinner
remove saucepan with chicken from fridge. Drain the brine, add fresh water and drain a couple times to rinse chicken, replace with just enough fresh water to cover chicken and add bay leaves. Poach chicken on low heat.
Heat soup pot, add olive oil. Saute shallot and green onions til soft. Add carrots and saute a few more minutes. Add chicken broth, lemon juice and the partially poached chicken along with the poaching water and bay leaves. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes
Meanwhile, clean swiss chard, separate stems from leaves. Chop stems into quarter inch long units and add to simmering soup. Chop leaves finely and reserve. Chop cilantro finely and add to reserved chard leaves.
Remove chicken from soup to cut into soup-sized pieces. My method is irregular. While holding chicken piece over soup pot with tongs, I use kitchen shears to cut it into smaller pieces which drop right back into soup. afterwards, shears and tongs go directly into the dishwasher and there's no cutting board to clean.
About half hour before dinner, wash out the now empty medium saucepan used to brine and poach the chicken. Add 4 to 6 cups fresh water with a dash of salt and put on stove to heat to a boil. When it boils, add orzo, boil 5 minutes. Drain. add partially cooked orzo to soup along with the chard leaves and cilantro. [my package of orzo did not state how long it took to cook. I knew I wanted to precook it separately to avoid the soup getting too starchy. Five minutes of boiling separately was fine to get it mostly cooked.]
Simmer a few more minutes to cook the chard and cilantro and finish cooking the orzo. Add salt and pepper to taste and more lemon juice if desired.
result: I thought it was terrific, just what I was looking for. Franz wasn't expecting and didn't love the lemony taste, but he still ate two big bowl-fulls. Zach and I also each had two servings and there's enough for a couple lunch-sized servings left over.