Hearty Lemon Chicken Soup with Quinoa and Kale
is my absolute favorite go to meal when there is even a suggestion of cold or rainy weather. A one pot meal that has tons of vegetables and some protein is a wonderful thing. One would think anyone can make great soup. This is not always the case. I have had some dreadful soup where I am left dissatisfied and screaming "where is the love?". Nothing is more disappointing than a bowl of bland, overly salty soup, with no love.
I can tell on the first bite if the person who made the soup has any soup talent. I guess I'm a soup snob, but so be it. My high standards for soup have made me become a little bit of a soup perfectionist. If I make it wrong I will promptly get out a Samari sword like John Belushi and throw myself on it....not really but it sounds virtuous.
So where do we start when making a perfect soup? The stock of course. Yes you can make soup with the stock in box variety but if you want to make an amazing soup, start with your own homemade stock. The other thing I like about making my own is that I know exactly what I am getting and I can control the salt. So many of the stocks in a box contain over abundant amounts of sodium and too much sodium is not good for your health especially if you have high blood pressure.
So take the time to make your stock, you won't be sorry! You can make a big batch and freeze for future soups.
Ingredients for the stock:
1 Whole Chicken
1 large onion quartered
4 carrots peeled cut into chunks
4 ribs of celery cut into chunks
1 leek white part only
10 fresh thyme sprigs
10 sprigs of parsley with stems
2 bay leaves
2 whole cloves of garlic
Cold water to cover the chicken
Put some oil in a large stock pot. When heated add your onion, garlic, celery, leeks. cook until browned and then add in herbs, peppercorns, bay leaves. Cook for another 10 min Covered on medium heat.
Place whole chicken on top of the vegetables and fill the pot with cold water enough to cover the chicken. Cook on high heat just enough to see bubbles break the surface. Turn heat to medium so that the stock maintains a gentle simmer. Skim the scum from the stock every 15 min or so for the first hour. After that twice for the next 2 hours. You can add hot water if needed to keep the chicken and vegetables submerged.
Strain the stock through a fine mesh stainer into a large stainless steel bowl to cool. Remove the chicken and Let cool. Once it has cooled down you can shred the chicken and reserve for your soup.
At this point you are ready to make your chicken soup!
Oil to coat the pan
2 large onion, small dice
4 peeled carrots, small dice
4 peeled parsnips small dice
4 ribs of celery , small dice
5-10 cloves of garlic chopped
3 vegetable bouillon cubes (I like Rapunzel no salt added or with sea salt)
2 Tbs chopped thyme about
2 whole lemons
8 cups of chopped kale
Meat from whole chicken
Stock from above (approx 5 to 6 qts )
In a 6 quart pot place the oil and heat over medium high. When ready add the onions, carrot, celery and parsnip. Add a pinch of salt and cover the pot to sweat the vegetables. After 10 min add the garlic, chopped thyme. stir and continue to sweat. Another 10 to 15 min. Add in the bouillon cubes and the chicken stock. Simmer for 15 min. Next you will add in the shredded chicken and kale. Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into the soup and season with salt and pepper. If you want when serving add some fresh grated Parmesan.
Serve with rice, noodles, or quinoa!
As a variation you can also add ginger, splash of tamari and some sesame oil for an Asian inspired chicken soup.