This week, being conscious of our expanding diets, I visited the farmers’ market to pick up carrots, leeks, fingerling potatoes, zucchini and basil. The local grocery store yielded a few out of season tomatoes. The taste will probably be pale, but I’ll add a bit of balsamic vinegar to sweeten them back to their sweet destiny. I’ve been consciously avoiding starches and sugar; justifying my consummation of a cornucopia worth of food. Below is a recipe for Veggie Chicken soup. It’s light and tasty until heavy Thursday arrives.
Vegetable Chicken Soup with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil Pesto
Three recipes are below: Tomato Purée, Basil Pesto, and the Soup
Recipe for Fresh Tomato Purée
Ingredients for Tomato Purée
- 6 to 8 tomatoes, unpeeled
- balsamic vinegar, to taste
- 1 tbsp. of sugar, more or less to taste
Directions for Tomato Purée
- In a pot of boiling water, add whole tomatoes. When the skin begins to peel, remove from pot.
- When the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skin from the tomatoes.
- Place tomatoes in a food processor and puree until smooth. Depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and sugar to taste.
- Set tomato purée aside until ready to use in the directions below.
Recipe for Basil Pesto
Ingredients for Basil Pesto
- 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts, toasted
- 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp. white wine
- 2 to 3 c. of basil leaves
- The juice of one lemon
- 4 oz. of parmesan or pecorino cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- 3 to 4 tbsp. olive oil
Directions for Basil Pesto
- Place all ingredients, except olive oil, in a food processor and puree until the ingredients are roughly chopped.
- While the processor is running, slowly add olive oil.
- Continue to process until “chunky smooth” texture.
- Set Basil Pesto aside until ready to use in the directions below.
Put it All Together: Vegetable Chicken Soup with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil Pesto
- 2 to 3 tbsps. olive oil
- 1 lb. of skinless, boneless chicken; seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic powder
- 1 to 2 leeks, sliced; discard stemmed ends and a little of the roughly torn green top, throughly wash several times to remove gritty dirt
- 1 roughly chopped green bell pepper
- 2 to 3 carrots, diagonally sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced/crushed
- 1 to 2 c. of sliced fingerling potatoes (don’t worry about removing the skin)
- 2 c. of chicken stock, low-sodium
- tomato purée, see recipe above
- one small bunch of fresh thyme, wrapped in twine
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- salt and pepper, to taste
- basil pesto, see recipe above
- A few fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- Follow the directions above to make the tomato purée and basil pesto.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. When the pot is hot, add olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the chicken breast. Cook about 5 minutes per side (cooking times vary according to the size of the chicken breast). When the chicken is done, remove the chicken from the pot to cool on a paper towel lined plate. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken breast. Some people use a fork, I use my hands. Place shredded chicken aside.
- If necessary, add a little more olive oil to the same pot that cooked the chicken breasts. Add the leeks and sauté for about five minutes, or until soft and translucent.
- Add the green pepper, zucchini and carrots to the pot. Sauté the vegetables for about three to five minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.
- Add potatoes, chicken stock, thyme, red pepper flakes and tomato purée (see recipe above). Cover the pot and bring to boil. Reduce temperature to a low-heat to simmer the soup. Allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. If necessary, “sample taste” the soup to determine if the seasoning needs adjusting with salt and pepper.
- Return the shredded chicken to the soup.
- Ladle soup into individual bowls. Top with basil pesto (see recipe above). Garnish with basil leaves.
- Enjoy with a slice of thick multi-grain or wheat bread.