Chef Dad’s Italian Chicken Soup
1 Roasted Rotisserie Chicken (fresh “to go” from your grocers’ deli)
32 oz. Chicken Stock
3 Cups Water
¼ Cup (4 tbsp.) Butter
1 ½ Cups Celery (diced)
1 ½ Cups Carrots (about 2 large or 3 medium sized, peeled & diced)
1 Onion (diced)
3 Tbsp. Garlic (diced fine)
2 Bay Leaves
Fresh Cracked Pepper
2 tsp. Oregano Flakes
¾ Cup Dry (uncooked) Orzo* or any tiny Pasta
1) Remove skin from your roasted chicken then peel away meat from the bird. When doing so, don’t throw away the juices from the bottom of the container. Pull apart the meat into desired size pieces, pour juices over the top then set aside.
2) In a large soup pot over medium high heat, melt butter then add celery, carrot, onion & garlic. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, ½ teaspoon of pepper and the oregano flakes then stir well. Sauté for about 8 minutes until veggies become tender. Add your chicken stock, water & bay leaves. Increase heat to high and bring up to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium then add the pasta and stir frequently, especially in the beginning to avoid your pasta sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cook until pasta is tender (about 8 minutes). Remove bay leaves then add your chicken. Warm the chicken for a minute or so. Taste for additional salt & pepper, if necessary, and make your adjustments a little at a time then serve immediately.
Cooks Notes: Orzo is very small Italian pasta which is perfect for soups. While the recipe calls for just ¾ cup of it, you can use up to 1 cup as long as you plan to eat the entire batch within an hour simply because that pasta will continue to expand and absorb all of your broth. You can always use other tiny pastas or 2 cups of cooked white rice instead of the orzo. If you have some leftovers the next day and the pasta or rice has absorbed most of your broth, simply add more chicken stock and a dash more salt & pepper on your stove when re-heating.
This recipe makes 8-10 bowls or about 16 cups.
Chicken Tacos for Arizona Taco Festival
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
½ cup peanuts, finely chopped
½ cup pepita seeds, finely chopped
1/3 cup lime juice
1 cup black beans
½ -1 teaspoon of cumin
1/3 cup cream
1. Marinate the chicken in olive oil with chopped garlic, shallot, fresh oregano, and cilantro covered in the fridge for up to 24 hours. After chicken has marinated, heat stove top to medium high heat and sauté chicken on one side for 2-3 minutes, depending on thickness, and then the other. Set aside.
2. Place a separate sauté pan over medium high heat and add a light drizzle of olive oil. Add peanuts and pepitas to pan and roast, stirring constantly. Add lime juice and garlic. Keep stirring for 3-4 minutes or till golden. Set aside.
3. In a mixing bowl add drained black beans, cumin, and cream. With a hand mixer puree mixture till smooth.
4. To serve, take three flat tortillas, add chicken bites, black bean puree and roasted seeds. Garnish with a drizzle of crema and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.