Friday, October 20, 2006

Chicken Vegetable Soup in a Hurry for Immediate Gratification

Sometimes you just don’t have time for a soup to simmer all day. You need soup in a hurry, but you are still crave something fresh and good, you just want it now. Try this recipe for instant soup relief. I came up with it when I faced a similar dilemma. I was looking in my fridge and pantry to see what I could do to soothe that soup craving when I spotted the food processor and thought “aha, I’ll shred the vegetables for speedier cooking.” No food processor? Try chopping the veggies into a really small dice.

Sheer genius. Sheer delicious. Even if I do say so myself.

Do try to use the Moroccan raz el hanout seasoning (sometimes spelled ras el hanout). It adds a mysterious curry-like note with a bit of floral and a bit of heat. I’ve suggested a replacement mixture just in case it’s not right there on your spice shelf. (I got mine in Paris; remind me to tell you about it someday.) Here is a recipe if you would like to make the spice blend up yourself. The lemon zest and juice add a nice, clean tingle to the fresh taste of the vegetables, the earthiness of the chickpeas and the light spiciness.

Chicken Vegetable Soup in a Hurry
Makes about 6 servings

You can make this Vegetable Vegetable Soup by substituting vegetable stock for the chicken. Want it more Chicken Chicken Vegetable Soup? Add in some boneless, skinless cooked chicken when you add the liquid.

Note: Cut vegetables in 1 to 2 inch chunks before shredding, so your shreds are bite site.

2 tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil or mixed
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Pinch dried red pepper flakes
2 large carrots, shredded
1 medium-large red bell pepper, shredded
2 large zucchinis, shredded
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon Moroccan raz el hanout seasoning (recommended if available) OR ¼ teaspoon combined TOTAL of equal parts ground turmeric, ground cinnamon and ground ginger
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 quart good quality chicken broth (homemade or store bought)
1 -15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chunks of avocado and fresh tomato for garnish (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until beginning to turn translucent and soften. Add garlic. Sauté until garlic is beginning to brown. Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and stir and fry to release the flavors. Add the shredded vegetables and sauté until beginning to soften. Add salt and pepper to taste and the Moroccan or other substitute seasonings, lemon rind, chicken broth and drained chick peas. Bring mixture to a simmer, cover and cook until vegetables are tender, broth is heated through and the tastes have melded. Stir in lemon juice. Taste and correct seasonings if need be. Serve with selected garinsh(es) if desired.

This just occurred to me -- If you are planning in advance to make this soup, you can probably find shredded vegetables at a supermarket salad bar. That will speed things up even more. Still not quick enough? Preheat the chicken or vegetable stock while the other ingredients saute and add the already warmed stock to the sauted vegetable mixture.

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