As I type, the wind is banging at my window and the snow is swirling outside. It's fucking freezing out. The only sign of spring is the teeny, tiny basil plants which are slowly emerging from the peat cocoons in my little indoor greenhouse. I am hardy New Englander, but even I know when enough is enough. Sadly, we still have a month and a half to go before we can begin to see spring over the huge snow banks in the front yard.
What is it about cold weather and the desire to make soup? Or the need to bake bread. As soon as I catch sight of the first flake of a snowstorm, I am in my kitchen, yanking ingredients out of the refrigerator and pulling my Dutch oven out of the cabinet. This is snow storm foreplay, y'all.
Even though I don't like chicken - (I know I'm weird. Get over it) - I do like chicken soup. I found a recipe on Eatingwell.com and did a little tweaking. You can go to their website and use their version or use mine. (you had better use mine if you know what's good for ya)
Chicken and Spinach Soup with Fresh Pesto
2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup carrot
1 large (about 8 ounces) large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into quarters
1 clove garlic, minced
5 cups chicken broth (I use low sodium)
1 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
6 ounce baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1 can (15-ounce) cannellini beans, rinsed
Sea Salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup of fresh basil leaves (packed)
1/3 cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese (don't you dare use that powdered crap in a can)
1/4 cup of toasted pine nuts (put nuts in a dry pan and toasted over a low burner. Watch carefully! They burn quick. As soon as you smell something like popcorn, they are done. Allow them to cool)
1/2 cup (or to taste) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot and chicken; cook, turning the chicken and stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in broth and marjoram; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
2. With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean cutting board to cool. Add spinach and beans to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
3. Combine pesto ingredients in a food processor. (A blender would work in a pinch) Process until a coarse paste forms.
4. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken and pesto into the pot. Season with sea salt and pepper. Heat until hot.
I have been making gallons of this stuff and it freezes well. I love to curl up with a huge bowl and a chunk of crusty baguette. Just don't tell TH about the bread. We're supposed to be going low-carb. I'm sneaking bits of bread when he's not looking, It will be our secret, okay?
For all my veggie fans out there, I suppose you could use that icky stuff called tofu instead of chicken. Bleeh! I don't know how you do it. I can only choke it down if it's buzzed in a blender.
There you go, my lovers. My first recipe for ya. After all, the best form of foreplay is food.