Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Venetian Chicken Soup (Bacon & Green Onion)

This is Venetian Chicken Soup. Why is it Venetian? I have no idea. I found this recipe on the Internet several years ago - but where I found it on the Internet... I do not know. I was in love with it the very first time I made it. It was the best, most flavorful soup I had ever had. For real. It was also the easiest soup I had ever made. I made a couple of tweaks to it to make it my own over the years. The biggest one was the incorporation of Perfect Chicken that made it just that much better. Soooo good. This soup is the best of both worlds - warm and comforting for winter and light and filling for summer. You'll see that my recipe card was made before I started using Perfect Chicken...and before I discovered chicken broth in a box.

First things first: Make Perfect Chicken (Click the link for the recipe). The short version: Mix 1/2 t. each of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and paprika together. Rub all of the spice mix on both sides of 3-4 chicken breasts. Sear both sides in a dutch oven, and then cook 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let rest 5-10 minutes before cutting. This method makes perfectly cooked chicken for me every time.

Step Two: Shred chicken. Here's the easy way to do it. Note: If you do not have a mixer with a paddle attachment, you can do what I used to do - shred it in the food processor. Sometimes that turns out to be more like ground chicken than shredded chicken, though. 

Step Three: Chop up some bacon and put it in the bottom of a Dutch oven or large pot that is already on med-high heat (or if you are me, just cut some bacon into the hot Dutch oven with scissors).
Step Four: When the bacon is nice and brown and crispy looking (I realize I overused "and"), add chopped green onions.
(Again, I just cut the green onions with scissors right into the Dutch oven, but you do whatever makes you happy.)

Step Five: When the green onions are soft, add flour...
(Ok, I realize this picture is super blurry, but I wanted you to see what the flour looks like when you first put it in.)

...and stir and cook until the flour is no longer white. (When it isn't white, you know that it has cooked enough to keep a "raw flour taste" out of your one wants that. Flour soup? Ew...)

Let me introduce you to boxed chicken broth. This is chicken broth in a box. It has about 4 cups of broth in it. Get one of these because it makes the next step so easy.

Step Six: Add an entire box of chicken broth (about 4 c.). Bring just to a boil - the soup will just bubble a little bit.

Step Seven: When the soup bubbles just a bit, add apple cider vinegar, dried parsley, and shredded chicken.
(FYI: I am a Baptist. Actually, I'm a Southern Baptist. For those of you who do not know, we do not drink alcohol. I live in an area that is saturated with Southern Baptists. In fact, on any given Sunday morning, my church usually has about 1,700 people, and our county was a dry county until about five years ago. The original recipe of this that was on some indeterminate site on the Internet called for some kind of alcohol. I want to say that it was sherry...but I cannot be entirely sure. When I first tried the recipe, I was unaware that there is such a thing as "cooking" sherry (...and wine...etc.), and I had horrible daydream-mares of the ridiculousness that would occur if someone I knew well saw me buying any kind of alcohol. In the daydream-mares, I spent copious amounts of time convincing everyone that I saw...everyone...whether I knew them or not... that I was only using the alcoholic substance I was buying for cooking purposes. Then, I imagined all the people who saw my car at the place that sold the alcohol. This daydream-mare paints a super over-exaggerated picture that Southern Baptists judge people who buy/drink alcohol. Some of them do - but mostly just the ones who have too much time on their hands. You know - the ones who would rather judge and gossip than talk to their Savior. Those ones (not that I am not one of those ones from time to time...let's be's rare...but it happens). I have never had alcohol in my life. Never. In fact, at the Pilsbury Bake-off, a couple of reporters even facetiously thought that it was their duty to ensure that I try it. Didn't work :).
Personally, here's where I stand on alcohol. Jesus drank wine. If He had drunk something else, the Bible would say so (ahem...grape juice. Totally doesn't say grape juice. It says wine.) Alcohol does have self-control factor to it, though, and if you've never had it before - why push the issue? For me, I know that I have an addictive personality. I do not understand one cookie. I understand five....or six...sometimes the whole batch. I do not understand one piece of cake, either. I understand two or three pieces. If I know I should limit myself, I overeat. It's true. I also know that several of my extended family members on both sides of my family tree have struggled with alcohol addiction. To boot, I know that since so many people in my area of the world think alcohol is something that should be avoided, I'm not going to trip them up by drinking it. ...and according to my daydream-mares... buy it either. Anyway my point is: There are some really awesome cooking wines, etc. that I do buy nowadays that do not give me daydream-mares, but since I did not know that they existed back in the day, I found that a certain percentage of apple cider vinegar is a good substitute. Hence, that is where the random apple cider vinegar ingredient came from. Don't leave it out - there is some scientific magic that happens when you add that apple cider vinegar that makes this soup absolutely AWESOME.
Anyway, thanks for listening.

Step Eight: Turn the heat down to medium, and when the soup comes to a boil... 

...cover and cook for ten minutes.

Ta-da! Oh. My. Gosh.

Here is the most flavorful, bacony, chicken soup EVER.

Enjoy my friends!

Venetian Chicken Soup (Serves 4)
Click here for printable version
1 1/2 - 2 lb. Perfect Chicken, shredded
3 slices bacon, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 T. flour
4 c. chicken broth
2 T. apple cider vinegar
1 T. dried parsley

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or large pot over med-high heat until browned. Add green onions and cook until just softened. Add flour; stir while cooking until the flour is no longer white. Add chicken broth. When the soup bubbles just a bit, add apple cider vinegar, dried parsley, and shredded chicken. Turn the heat down to medium. When the soup starts to a boil, cover and cook for ten minutes.
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