Monday, February 23, 2015

Chicken-Sausage Chicken-Thigh Chicken Noodle Soup

This time of year, there's pretty much always some kind of soup happening. I make enough to last a few days, and when that's gone, another soup makes its appearance. I like to vary the soups, so every new batch is significantly different from the one before.

So ... if the tomato noodle soup is nearly gone, the next one might be chicken and rice. That could be followed by ham and bean or cream of mushroom. Later, it might be beef barley or split pea. Some soups have meat in them, some have a meat (or poultry) base, and some are completely vegetarian.

There's a lot of soup around here.

So when my buddies at 37 Cooks hosted a challenge sponsored by Bilinksi's sausage and they sent chicken, kale, and balsamic sausage ... well, the first thing I thought of was soup.

I decided to amp up the chicken content by using chicken stock and chicken thighs along with the chicken sausage. There's no doubt at all that this is a chicken soup.

If you happen to have cooked chicken to add to the soup, you can skip cooking the thighs in the stock - the stock won't be quite as rich, but it will still be pretty terrific.

Chicken-Sausage Chicken-Thigh Chicken Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 chicken thighs
1 quart chicken stock
6 carrots
1 onion
6 scallions
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Salt, to taste
1 cup dry pasta (I used farfalle, but any shape is fine)
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup corn kernels
12 ounces Bilinski chicken sausage

Heat a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs, skin-side down. Cook until the skin is nicely browned, then flip the pieces over and cook on the other side until browned.

Add the chicken stock. Cover and simmer until the chicken thighs are cooked through and tender - figure on 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove the chicken thighs and skim the fat off the top of the stock.

If you prefer, you can do this step ahead of time and refrigerate the stock, which makes it easier to peel off the solidified fat.

Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and remove the meat from the bones. Shred or chop the chicken meat and refrigerate until needed.

Add a quart of water to the stock.

Peel and slice the carrots into rounds. Add them to the stock. Peel and dice the onion and add the diced onion to the stock. Slice the scallions into rounds - using the white parts tender green parts - and add them to the stock. Add the poultry seasoning and parsley.

Taste for seasoning. If the stock was salted, you may not need more now, but if it was unsalted, add salt as needed.

Simmer the vegetables in the stock until they are tender.

Add the pasta and cook until al dente, then add the peas and corn.

Slice the chicken sausage into rounds - or slice on a slight bias to create ovals. Add the sausage and the reserved chicken thigh meat to the soup. Taste for seasoning again and add salt, if needed. Cook for another minute or two, just enough to warm the chicken sausage and meat.

Serve hot.

I received chicken sausage at no cost to me from Bilinski through 37 Cooks.