Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup

Several weeks ago I made Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (like from Olive Garden) and ZOMGGGG it was deeeellicious. I ate it for breakfast the next day and Teh Bear actually said that he wanted to make sure he had some to bring in for lunch on the next work day to make his coworkers jealous.

The recipe I used was from

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced celery
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 quart half-and-half (yes really)
2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth (if you enjoy a thicker soup, use 1 can)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves
1 cup diced cooked chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken but chicken thighs would be delicious as well, I feel like chicken breasts aren't going to have the flavor you're looking for)
1 (16-ounce/500g) package ready-to-use gnocchi
Melt the butter into the oil in a large saucepan stockpot over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion becomes translucent (or until you're done dicing all the other things).  Whisk in the flour and cook for about 1 minute.  Whisk in the half-and-half. Simmer until thickened.  Whisk in the chicken broth.  Simmer until thickened again.  Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt, the thyme, parsley, nutmeg, carrots, spinach, chicken, and gnocchi.  Simmer until the soup is heated through.  Before serving, season with additional salt, if necessary.

Lessons from our experience:
-Use as much of the ingredients as you want, just keep them proportional to the recipe.  I usually an -ish to all the vegetables and I add "enough" of each ingredient.  This could have been part of the pan problem.
-Having all the ingredients ready and chopped prior to starting to cooking probably shouldn't be looked at an inefficient use of time.  The cooking goes faster if everything is reading for adding.
-All of these things will over flow a saucepan.  We ended up switching to a stockpot mid-cooking so I could finish adding all the ingredients and chicken broth.
-This recipe has enough vegetables to cancel out whatever ill effects could happen from adding a quart of half-and-half.  At least that's what I told myself.
-When things are "optional" they aren't.  Just do them.  (The nutmeg step was listed as optional, I removed that for you)
-Don't throw away your chicken carcass (if using rotisserie chicken) when you know your dog is a foodie and will break into your lockable trashcan and eat all the bones, ensuring you worry about his poops for the next 3 days.
-Don't use chicken breasts.  Just trust me, they won't taste as good.  The "healthiest" I'd go would be boneless, skinless, chicken thighs and it would need to be precooked.  Despite the mess (and hassle (for me)) of getting a rotisserie chicken, it was TOTALLY WORTH IT.
-NOT eating all the leftover the next day is going to be difficult.  This is the correct point to remember there is a quart of half-and-half in the soup.
-If you prefer more liquidy soup (like standard chicken noodle), make sure to use the max amount of chicken broth.  If you like thick soup, like we do, add 14-16 oz.  I just filled to the spilling point of our glass liquid measuring cup and called it good (I think its the 2 cup one).

Our leftovers, which were delicious!!

I made it a 2nd time!
Using the big pot this time..

The new soup bowls are definitely bigger than the regular bowls.

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