First Fall Soup

The first time I made this soup I used a recipe from a Cooking Light magazine, if I am remembering correctly. It was titled something like Chicken Tortellini Soup, but I can’t seem to find the original recipe. I have made it so many times that I haven’t used the recipe in at least 5 years. It has evolved slightly over time to include using smoked chicken instead of baked, using homemade stock from the smoked chicken carcass and varying the ingredients whenever I need to use something up or want a change in flavor.

In honor of the first day of Fall this week, I made our first batch of soup in months. Soup just isn’t appealing when it is 95-100 degrees outside. It is still pretty hot and dry, but in the mornings you can feel a crispness in the air that makes me wish for cool days and hot soup. This batch of soup was a little bit different than the original recipe. Below is the basic recipe and the alterations I made for this batch.

Chicken Tortellini Soup

1 whole chicken – can be rotisserie, baked, or in this case smoked

2 quarts chicken stock – if using store bought go for low sodium, I used homemade from the carcass of the whole chicken, just put it in the crockpot covered with water overnight on low.

Start with a large soup pot, put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom, bring to medium high heat.

Add 1 Onion sliced or diced depending on your preference for rustic soup or smooth

Add 2-3 peeled diced carrots to the pot along with the onion, let them get soft and a little brown.

Add 1 stalk celery diced, I did not do this because I didn’t have any celery. I added 1 bunch of Kale after adding the liquid instead, a lovely substitute.

Add 2 cloves garlic let it start smelling good. Salt and Pepper the veggies as they saute.

Pour 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar into the bottom of the pot, stirring to coat all the veggies. This is another alteration that I picked up from a beef stew recipe. It gives an added dimension of flavor and depth without tasting vinegary.

Add 2 quarts of chicken stock and 1 quart of water. Bring to a boil.

Once boiling add the Kale, Chicken meat, 1 12 inch link of smoke sausage cut into 1/2″ rounds. Bring back to a low boil.

This is the point to add seasoning. Thyme is a traditional spice that was called for in the original recipe. I have found that Tony C’s cajun blend is fantastic in this soup. For this batch I added a few shakes of Sausage seasoning mix from Penzey’s, 2 tablespoons of worchestershire sauce, Salt and Pepper, and a few dashes of Cayenne pepper. A little bit of heat in the form of cayenne or red pepper flakes really kicks up the flavor without being Spicy. Once it is boiling again, add 1 package frozen cheese tortellini. You can use refrigerated if you want to, but I find that the frozen tends to have a better texture and hold it’s shape when re-heated much better. We ate on this soup for a couple of lunches and one easy dinner. The rest I froze for a quick easy dinner in a couple of weeks.

 

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