Culinary Chronicles by Chef Vince Fazi

Some of my favorite meals to make are soups and stews. I love the ability of taking mostly pantry items coupled with cheap cuts of meat, random veggies and time to make a flavorful broth or hearty stew. Plus, you can make large batches and they freeze incredibly well.

The recipes in this article were designed to go with the (pantry) flow! We wanted to give three wide ranged soups and stews that allow for customization based on personal preference (to add beans or not) or based on what’s in your pantry.

Feel free to add wild rice to the chicken soup instead of egg noodles, thin out the potato soup and add Italian sausage and kale or even swap out the beef chuck for chicken thighs in the stew. There’s no wrong way to go!

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CHICKEN AND VEGGIE SOUP

Chicken Stock:

• 1 chicken, 3 to 3 1/2 pounds, (preferable with skin on but feel free to use whatever is around, breast/thighs)
• 3 stalks celery, with leaves, cut into chunks
• 2 large carrots, cut into chunks
• 2 yellow onions, peeled and halved
• 1 tsp black peppercorns
• 2 bay leaves (optional)
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste

To Finish Soup:

• 3 tablespoons reserved chicken fat, more if needed
• 3 leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, rinsed and sliced crosswise into thin half-moons
• 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into small dice
• Optional vegetables (frozen peas, spinach, celery, or potato)
• Kosher salt and ground black or white pepper
• Egg noodles (or Basmati rice, wild rice, any other small dried pasta)
• Finely chopped herbs, such as parsley, scallions, dill or a combination (optional)

For the stock:
1. Add all stock ingredients in a large (more than 4 Qt) pot. Add enough water to cover chicken by 1 inch. Bring to a rapid boil then reduce to a bare simmer (low – medium low). Barely simmer, uncovered, for 1 ½ hours or until chicken is very tender.
2. Remove chicken from pot and allow to cool in the fridge. Strain stock and discard vegetables, peppercorns and bay leaves (if using).
3. Refrigerate stock overnight. The next day skim off any chicken fat that has risen on the top and save 3 tbsp for later.
4. Pick and shred through the chicken and discard the bones. Chop meat if you want it finer or leave as spoon sized shreds.
5. In a 4 Qt pot over medium heat, add reserved chicken fat and leeks. Saute leeks until they start to soften and fry, about 5 minutes.
6. Add carrots and salt and continue to cook for 5 minutes more. Add stock and chicken meat and bring to a simmer.
7. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Note: at this point the soup can be split up and frozen in sealable bags for future use!
9. If you’re enjoying now, finish with cooked egg noodles (or rice/pasta if you have that on hand).

NOTE: try to stay away from leaving noodles, pasta or rice in the finished soup as they will soak up the broth. I tend to cook the noodles per the package instructions and add to each bowl of soup to prevent this.

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POTATO SOUP

• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 medium onion, medium diced
• 1 quart homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
• 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (about 3/4 pound)
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 cup heavy cream
• Add ins:Bacon, Cheese, Chives, Sour Cream, Kimchi, Cooked Sausage Crumbles, Kale

1. In a 4 Qt pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and reduce heat to low. Sweat onions for 10-15 minutes or until soft.
2. Add stock, potatoes and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer over medium low heat. Cook until potatoes are fall apart tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and working in batches blend soup in 1 minute intervals or until the soup is smooth.
4. Return soup to pot and add in heavy cream. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and season with salt and pepper.
5. At this point the soup can be cooled, split up into smaller batches and frozen for future meals!
6. Feel free to jazz up the soup with the add in ingredients above.

Optional add ins:

• Loaded Bake Potato: cooked bacon crumbles, shredded cheddar cheese, chives, and sour cream

• Italian Sausage and Kale: fully cook Italian sausage into crumbles, add in fresh or frozen kale, 2 cups of the potato soup and thin out with chicken stock or water (1-2 cups depending on your preference). Finish with cooked gnocchi.

We're committed to providing helpful content during these tough times in the weeks to come. Check back on In-Sight for regular updates. Until then, happy home cooking!

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