In honor of apple picking season for many of you and the last day of September for the rest of us.
We call this soup "Health in a Bowl." It's flavorful and rustic and one day they'll discover it's the cure for the common cold and we'll make a killing.
I have to admit, I've never actually made it myself. Soups are generally Stephen's domain. He's just got the touch.
Chicken Soup with Leeks & Apples
1 3-pound chicken, quartered (we usually use an 8 pieced pre-cut package of chicken)
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 leeks, including 1 inch of green, cut in half lengthwise, washed & finely sliced
2 Granny Smith or tart local baking apples, peeled & cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
Here's a picture tutorial on cutting leeks if your not familiar with the process.
Season the chicken with salt & pepper. Melt butter over medium heat in a soup pot or dutch oven. Add chicken, skin side down and cook for about 8 minutes over medium heat. If the butter starts to brown, lower the heat a little. Turn the chicken and lightly saute for another 5 minutes. Remove chicken and place in a bowl.
If the butter in the pot has burned, pour it out and replace with another 2 Tbsp of butter. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir the leeks every couple of minutes. They should soften, but not brown.
Put the chicken back in the pot with the leeks. Add the apples, apple juice, vinegar & broth. Bring liquids to a slow simmer and with a ladle skim off any fat or froth that floats to the top.
Cover the pot and simmer the chicken gently for 10-15 minutes, until it is completely cooked (the breast meat should feel firm to the touch).
Remove the chicken, put it back in the bowl and let it cool. Once it's cooled enough to work with, remove and discard the skin and pull the meat away from the bones. Cut the meat into 1/2 inch chunks.
Add the heavy cream to the pot. Bring it to simmer and season with salt & pepper. Return the chicken chunks to the soup and heat for another 2 minutes or so. Serve hot with a toasted crusty whole grain bread and a green salad.
This soup is also delicious with a little curry, which is how we like it. Add the curry by stirring a tablespoon of curry powder into a tablespoon of melted butter. Stir the mixture into the soup shortly before serving, when you add the chicken chunks back in. It's a not an overpowering amount of curry, just a subtle flavor and a beautiful color.
Serve with crusty bread and simple salad.
Make when it's cold or rainy or someone in your house starts to sniffle.