Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Chicken Tortellini Serendipity

I concocted this out of nowhere and it was so damned tasty that Esteban had a hard time believing that I made it. I am completely baffled, because my soups never ever turn out that good. This recipe will fill your 8 quart Le Creuset French Oven pot and will seem like way too much soup, but we lived on it for four days and were fighting over the last of it. I'm writing it down while I still remember how I did it.

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 stalks celery, grated and then minced fine
4 carrots, grated and then minced fine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup diced white onion
a handful of Italian parsley, chopped
Fresh tarragon, thyme, rosemary, and sage, tied with string
3 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1/2 tbsp ground white pepper
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
6 quarts chicken stock (I used Trader Joe's in the carton)
1 lb dried cheese tortellini
A handful of leftover frozen corn and green beans
A little bit of olive oil
1 tbsp pure tomato powder
Sea Salt to taste

I started the pot with a swirl of olive oil and sweated the celery, onion, garlic and carrots until the onion had pretty much done its thing. Then I threw in the whole chicken breasts, four quarts of stock, the poultry seasoning, bay leaf, peppercorns, white pepper, parsley and the herb bouquet. Simmer for at least an hour, but if you forget about it because you're playing Zuma, that's what happened to me. Then I fished out the herbal bouquet* and tossed it, then fished out the chicken, let it cool enough so that I could dice it, then returned it to the soup. I wasn't sure how big the tortellini would get, so I threw in half the package and let it simmer for another half hour. When I went back, I decided that there weren't enough tortellini, so I tossed in the rest of the package, along with the corn and green beans and tomato powder, and then threw in another two quarts of stock because the tortellini were really soaking up the broth (because I was sort of making it all up as I went along... you could just start with six quarts). I then let it simmer, covered, for another half an hour and then served with buttermilk cheese biscuits (a bastardization of the recipe on the side of the Bisquick box).

*If you're smart, you'll also find those peppercorns, because all three attacked us unexpectedly.

Because half of the tortellini had been in the soup for over an hour, they sort of exploded and became generic noodles, with their parmesan filling dissolved into and flavoring the broth. It was totally a happy accident and I think that was the secret because it was the best of both worlds... some of the tortellinis still had filling and others had sacrificed their cheese for the good of the stock. You could probably just use any old noodle and dump in some parmesan on its own rather than rely upon the tortellini deployment method.


Blogger Jen said...

Mo said you put a new recipe up, and I got excited, and now I am even more excited that it is this one. mm.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous xanthic said...

I searched for an hour or so to find a recepie like this....
and this was way better than what i was expecting...
I LOVE this recipe.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love tortellini. And I love tortellini soup. This is the BEST recipe I have ever found. Soul food!
My whole family loves this recipe. Thank you!

3:16 PM  

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