This is a found long ago and tweaked recipe which our entire family enjoys.
I generally like to make this soup using cooked, leftover chicken breasts which I’ve bagged up and frozen — or you can begin the entire thing from scratch. I’ve both baked and grilled the chicken, seasoned with lemon/pepper seasoning– either way works fine.
These portions serve four though I usually at least triple it as the leftovers freeze well and make a super easy, quick dinner another time.
- Olive Oil
- 8 shallots, thinly sliced (onions can be substituted for part or all, though shallots are lovely in it – though pricier)
- 4 carrots, thinly sliced.
- 4 stalks celery, thinly sliced.
- 3 cooked, boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced.
- 4 lemons (5 if you wish to have some slices for garnish. See below.)
- 8 Cups chicken stock (your own stock, or canned)
- 12 oz dried pasta (I’ve used both angel hair or spaghetti) broken into small pieces
- salt and pepper
- Garnish: (if desired) lemon slices, fresh parsley sprigs
- It’s also good to have some extra lemon juice on hand, we tend t like our soup a bit “lemon-ier”!)
Note: this recipe involves “blanching”. It’s come to my attention that a lot of people aren’t familiar with this term. It’s easy:
Simply take a pot of water to a full, rolling boil. The size of pot depends on what you’re blanching, in this case lemon peelings, so a small pot is fine. Once the water is at a full boil, toss in whatever you’re blanching, let it boil for a few minutes, then drain.
Now how easy was that?
I usually use a soup pot to cook everything in, makes for easy cleanup.
Heat olive oil in soup pot (or large saucepan if you prefer). Add shallots (and/or onions), carrots, celery, a bit of salt and pepper. Cook over a low heart, stirring occasionally, till shallots and celery are translucent, carrots softened. Add chicken. Let simmer, keeping a close eye on it.
Meanwhile thinly pare the lemons, (see pic below), cutting the rind into very thin strips. Blanch the rinds for around 3 minutes, then drain well. Juice the lemons, reserve juice.
Add the chicken stock, blanched lemon rinds & lemon juice to the vegetable mixture. Slowly bring to a boil over low heat, simmer for around a half an hour.
At this point you can either add the pasta to the soup and cook an additional 15 minutes or so. I prefer to cook the pasta in a separate pot, and combine the two into the individual bowls at serving. Either way works fine. (Though if you’re planning to freeze leftovers, do the pasta separately).
Season the soup, adding more pepper, salt AND lemon juice to taste. As I said, we like ours quite lemon-ie!
Serve in a tureen or individual bowls, garnishing with parsley and thin slices of lemon if desired.
This goes great with some chewy bread and my favorite Islam Salad.