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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Easy Tortellini Soup

   A cold front moved through the area today, bringing a wicked thunderstorm complete with heavy rain, high wind and  much cooler temperatures. Brrr....fall is really here.
   Sitting in my kitchen contemplating what to make for dinner I thought about one of my sons who works on the railroad. No, really, he literally works on the railroad tracks. Today would be the third consecutive day he will be coming in drenched to the bone; even with his rain gear, he somehow manages to get soaked to the skin. Soup, I thought, soup will warm him up, after his hot shower, I'll have some nice hot chicken soup for him to warm up his insides. Okay, but let's make this chicken soup really something he won't be able to say, "no thanks, Mom."
   Jesse is a pasta hound, put pasta in it, on it, under it, and he's in. Ah, I have some cheese tortellini in the freezer; and some leftover chicken fingers. The gears started turning and I turned out a soup that I was very proud of, and a soup that all the men ate. Jesse even ate his BEFORE his shower. Wow.
   Okay, to start off with I decided the soup needed to have some body, but not as thick as a chowder, but heavier than a plain broth. I need a roux. Okay, a thin roux would put just enough 'Umprh' to make it stick to your ribs.

Easy Tortellini Soup
Serves 4

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 rib celery diced small --the smaller the better, so it will just kind of disappear into the broth
  • 1 small carrot shredded on the largest hole of a box grater
  • 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 48 ounces of chicken broth- I used Progresso® in the box about 1-1/2 boxes
  • salt and pepper to taste-- or leave out if you have to watch your sodium intake
  • 4 cooked chicken fingers, diced--I removed any of the breading that came loose
  • 1 cup cheese tortellini
   In a 3 quart saucepan melt the butter, add the celery and carrot and sweat for about 5 minutes to start to soften the vegetables. Whisk in the flour and cook until smooth, and bubbly. Stir in the dehydrated onion.. Whisk in the broth, being sure to stir the roux up into the broth. It will still look rather thin, broth-like at this point, but just keep going. Simmer the soup for 10 minutes to finish cooking the vegetables and marry the flavors. Add the diced cooked chicken and the tortellini. Cook over low heat until the tortellini is done. Cooking it without a cover will evaporate some of the broth, concentrating the flavors, and by cooking the tortellini  in the broth adds to the heartiness of the broth because of the the retained starch. It takes about 10 minutes to cook the tortellini, and of course that is al dente. Done!

   See, didn't I tell you it was easy? And you also learned how to make a roux at the same time! Two for the price of one. Now, how's that for a bargain?
   Would love to hear your take on this recipe!