Friday, January 25, 2013

Creamy Chicken Gnocchi Soup

The perfect comfort soup for any day
A creamy delight and ultimate comfort food: Creamy Chicken Gnocchi soup!

1.  Onion - diced.
2.  Garlic - a couple of cloves.
3.  Celery - diced.
4.  Butter - half a stick  - this soup will feed four.  For more, well, increase the ingredients accordingly.
5.  2 tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive oil.
6.  1/4 cup of flour
7.  Half and half or for a rich and creamier experience use Heavy Cream. (2 cups)
8.  Spices: fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, dried oregano, dried bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
9.  Chicken stock -  32 oz.
10.  Chicken - white meat is preferred, but that is totally subjective. - Roast it or grill it, just make sure it is cooked and shredded or cubed.
10.  Carrots - metzo luna or half moon or shredded.
11.  Gnocchi - home made or store bought.
12.  Baby portabella or crimini mushrooms - purely optional, but I like the body and flavor that it adds.
13.  Baby spinach or kale - I prefer spinach.

Half of the soup is all about the roux or what is known as the Bachemel or white sauce.  In a pot, coat it with a generous helping of Extra Virgin Olive oil and half stick of butter.  Add the diced onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Sweat the veggies in the oil and butter mixture.  Add the fresh thyme and rosemary, season with salt and pepper.  Add the 1/4 cup of flour.  The flour and butter/oil combination is going to turn into something like a paste.  Be careful not to burn the flour.  Add the half & half (or heavy cream) very slowly and delicately stirring the pot in intervals as you are pouring in the cream little by little.  This loosens up the paste and prevents lumps from forming and giving time for the cream and roux to marry.  Add the chicken and the chicken stock and the dried bay leaves.  Turn up the heat to bring the soup into a boil, then simmer it down.  Add the gnocchi, mushrooms and the last item should be the spinach or kale (this should be placed in the pot about five minutes before serving for a robust green presentation and texture.  Add a dash of nutmeg to compliment the spinach, but not too much and if you don't have any, don't worry about it.

Eat with:
1.  Parmesan cheese.
2.  Italian bread or a bruchetta.
3.  I like to add cayenne and fresh Jalapenos for a kick.

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