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I don’t know anyone who loves chicken as much as my husband.

We eat it more than any other meat around here: wrapped in flour tortillas or warm naan bread; stirred into spicy curries with rice and vegetables; baked in the oven with Jenny Rosenstrach’s mustard-herb butter. Sometimes (don’t tell J) I get a little tired of it.

We also eat a lot of soup at our house: tomato, butternut squash, jalapeño, black bean. Chicken enchilada, Tuscan sausage, carrot-ginger, my grandfather’s chili. I love nothing more on a cold night than stirring a warm, spicy pot of something delicious on the stove. I can eat the leftovers for days. The hubs loves soup too, but he gets tired of it faster.

Recently, we discovered a recipe (again via Jenny) that combines my love of soup with my husband’s yen for chicken. And we have made it three times in the last month.

Avgolemono is a Greek soup, which involves not only chicken but chicken broth and also eggs. (There’s a chicken-and-egg joke in there somewhere, but I can’t quite find it.) It is lemony and light, so it tastes springlike to me, and it involves enough chicken to satisfy even my husband. And – hallelujah – it’s almost criminally easy to make. The only downside is that we have never had leftovers, because we lap up the whole pot every time.

Here, in case you’re in need of a new, simple, delicious recipe, are the instructions. (Bonus: the name is fun to say.)

Avgolemono (via Dinner: A Love Story)

4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup uncooked orzo
salt and pepper
3 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice
shredded chicken (optional)

In a large saucepan, bring the broth to a boil.

Add the orzo and cook until tender but still al dente, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and reduce heat to low. Let simmer.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and lemon juice until smooth. Ladle about 1 cup of the hot broth into the egg-and-lemon mixture, whisking to combine.

Add the mixture back to the simmering saucepan. Stir just until the soup becomes opaque and thickens as the eggs cook, 1 to 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper (to taste) and chicken if you have it, and serve.

Jenny’s version calls for dill, but I almost never have it on hand, so we tend to make it with just salt and pepper. (Though I bet rosemary would also be good.)

What are your favorite chicken recipes – or your favorite dishes to make in the spring?

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This recipe came from a church cookbook, compiled many moons ago by faithful women from a church in Tulsa or Kingwood or Coppell (Mom had cookbooks from all these places). She’d pull this one out when the nights in Midland grew cold and sharp, with a bitter wind that whipped right through you. (The West Texas plains offer little protection from the wind. The joke is that there’s nothing between Texas and Canada but a barbed-wire fence, and two of the strands are down.)

My dad’s dad, who had high cholesterol, would beg for this soup when he came to visit in the winter – though he wasn’t supposed to have it, because of the cheese content. But Mom would usually give in and make it anyway. And Papaw loved her for it. My cheese-loving husband adores it, and I hope you will too.

Chicken Cheese Soup
4 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2-3 chopped carrots
3-4 diced potatoes
1 stick butter
1 T chili powder
8 oz Velveeta or cheddar cheese
1 quart milk
Salt & pepper to taste

Boil chicken breasts whole in chicken broth or water (broth gives them a better flavor, I think). Remove chicken from broth and add vegetables, chili powder and butter. Cook 20 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Add chicken (now diced) and cook 5 minutes. Add cheese and let melt. (I know Velveeta is fake, but it melts more smoothly than cheddar. Just sayin’.) Add milk a few minutes before serving. Taste and season if you wish.

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