Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicken Soup with Quinoa and Leek

So, I have been sick this week. Head cold, sore throat, hacking cough, you name it. Since I'm pregnant and can't take any medication, my best recourse was good old chicken soup. I made this one almost exclusively with ingredients from our produce pack or my mom's garden (just not the chicken). It was SO good. My husband even said it was the best "vegetable-y chicken-y soup" he has ever had! Honestly I've never seen him so excited about getting seconds of soup.

Although you can experiment with any combination of veggies and grains in this kind of soup, the stars of this show are the quinoa and leek. The gentle leek flavour just lights up the soup and the quinoa fills it out really nicely. Even if you aren't sick, this is a hearty, flavourful, healthy soup to make. Feel free to double the quantity if you want a big pot.

Chicken soup with quinoa and leek


- Sprigs of fresh thyme, sage and parsley, twist-tied together (called a "bouquet garni"!)
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 pieces of chicken (with bone for flavourful broth)
- 5 small carrots, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 4-5 medium potatoes, diced
- 2 small leeks, sliced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp butter

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water


First, slice an X on the top and bottom of the garlic and onion (In my mind it releases the flavour) Place the chicken, garlic, onions and bouquet garni in a medium saucepan. Add salt and pepper and cover with water.

Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until chicken is done.

Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Remove the onion and garlic and discard. You can also discard the bouquet of herbs but I like to keep it in to enhance the flavour. Just don't eat it!

Add some water to the pot if you would like more broth, then throw in the carrots and potatoes and continue to cook.

Because zucchini and leek are so quick to cook I decided to fry them up in a pan with some butter.

While the potatoes and carrots are cooking, heat up the butter in a pan
and cook the zucchini for a few minutes before adding in the leeks.

Fry until soft and take the pan off the heat.

When the potatoes and carrots are soft, add the zucchini and leeks to the pot.

While the veggies are gently simmering together in their deliciously fragrant broth, cut the meat off the chicken bones and throw it in. Add salt or pepper to taste.
In the same pan you cooked the zukes and leeks, place the quinoa and water. Cover and bring to
a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes until the quinoa is cooked and the water is absorbed.
I find that any starch I add to soups soaks up all the broth and just takes over, so I like to reserve the rice, noodles or in this case, quinoa, to add to each bowl individually.

Serve up hot bowls of delicious soup with a generous scoop of quinoa on top, and enjoy!

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