One of the first recipes I’ve tried from my new Cooking Light subscription. The delectable-looking photo lured me in, plus in the last year or so I’ve realized how totally awesome roasted vegetables (asparagus, green beans, broccoli) can be. And the soup was good, but maybe not quite as good as I was expecting. Basically, I felt like it was a lot of work to go through for something that wasn’t (in my opinion) as tasty as my usual chicken-noodle soup recipe, and wasn’t even as different from it in flavor as I’d hoped. A, on the other hand, thought it was as good, or possibly even slightly better. I can see where he’s coming from—it’s a darker, richer, more substantial soup. The variety of vegetables was nice, and the flavor did get nicely caramelized and intensified by the roasting. I’ll give it another shot, but with the following modifications: (a) More broth. The soup turned out way too stew-like for my taste, almost like a really wet pasta dish. (b) A mix of white and dark meat for the chicken. I just think chicken breast, even the nice free-range organic stuff I’ve been buying lately, is too bland and feels chewy and dry to me, even when it’s been boiled in broth. (c) Maybe egg noodles instead of the rotini; they’d blend in better, make the soup feel less chunky.
I think my disappointment in the soup was compounded by the fact that I made what sounded like a delicious brown-butter soda bread with rosemary and black pepper as an accompaniment (I’m not sure where the recipe was from—some magazine I picked up at work; Bon Appetit, maybe>?), and...it was OK, but I’m starting to think maybe I just don’t like soda bread that much. The recipes always sound good to me (and so temptingly easy), and then I make them and say, “eh.” Hence, I’ll refrain from posting that recipe. It wasn’t even an interesting enough failure to write about.
But anyway, back to the perfectly nice, wintery chicken soup, which was, in retrospect, pretty easy to make—it may require a lot of time, but the directions are very simple.
Postscript, December 2009: Look at me, trying to put a brave face on the disappointment, all "I'll make it again!" I never made it again. I have a perfectly satisfactory chicken-noodle soup recipe already.
1 cup chopped carrot (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 cup chopped onion (cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped celery (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (cut into 1-inch pieces)
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup water (maybe more?)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, or 7 cups homemade chicken broth (maybe more?)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (maybe use 1/2 pound breast and 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs, if you like dark meat)
2 cups uncooked rotini pasta (or possibly egg noodles)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Combine the carrot, onion, mushrooms, celery, and bell pepper on a large baking sheet or roasting pan, drizzle with oil, and stir well to coat. Bake for 50 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.
3. After vegetables have cooked for 20 minutes, combine water, rosemary, salt, chicken broth, and garlic in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
4. Add roasted vegetables to soup and simmer 30 minutes.
5. Bring soup to a boil; add pasta and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Time: 1 and 1/2 hours