This is not-your-mother’s-chicken soup, but a Coq au Vin-ish type of soup; it’s rustic, earthy comfort food at it’s best and easiest. It takes about 30 minutes to make and with some minor changes, this can become a stew. How flexible is that? I prefer to use chicken thighs whenever possible and they work very well with this soup. Thighs are more forgiving to cook, because they don’t dry out. But it’s cold outside and I had chicken breasts in the freezer, so boobies it is! The Goddess does not freeze her fanny, even for you. I don’t brown the breasts the way I would thighs. Keep in mind, even when making soup (moist cooking or braising), you can over-cook a chicken breast.
I used a Sam Adam’s Old Fezziwig Ale. It’s dark and malty, and not too bitter. It worked well and it’s just fun to say…Old Fezziwig Ale!
French Farmhouse Chicken Soup
- 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 leek, cleaned and thinly sliced (about 1 cup–or use an onion)
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or sliced thinly
- 2 medium shallots, minced or 4 teaspoons dried chopped shallots
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or arrowroot
- 1 cup amber lager (an IPA may be too bitter)
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (I use grade B)
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
Season the chicken thigh cubes all over with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-duty soup pot or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Swirl to coat the pan bottom. Drop the chicken into the pan in single layer (if possible) and cook until the pieces begin to brown; turn when needed and continue to cook until all the pieces are browned; they won’t necessarily be done. This takes about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate; set aside.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the skillet. Add the bay leaf, leeks, carrot, garlic and shallots; sauté over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the flour until combined. Stir in the beer, chicken broth, maple syrup, and herbs. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Tear or cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices; continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken cubes are done. Remove from the heat. Whisk the mustard into about 1 cup of the liquid from the soup; add it back into the soup. Stir in the lemon juice; taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with good bread and a nice red wine. This soup reheats well and really, it’s better the next day.
COOK’S NOTE: You may use chicken breasts, but don’t over-cook them. You may add sliced mushrooms with the leeks, if you wish. Instead of beer, you may use cider, wine or water. The zest of a lemon is a nice addition, as well. You can change the herbs, too. Herbes de Provence, rosemary, sage, etc. or a combination are good.
French Farmhouse Chicken Soup Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2015. All rights reserved.
YUM! Don’t you want to just dive right in? And it only takes 30 minutes from start to finish, so this is a quicky, too. If you need to feed more people, potatoes are a great way to stretch a soup or stew, so add a diced potato or 2 with the broth (and cook until the potato is just tender). I have added leftover roasted potatoes to soup; they taste great and it’s a good way to use them up, as I never feel roasted potatoes reheat very well.
Something to make your life easier–supermarket roasted chickens. This is a perfect recipe to use leftover roasted chicken chunks in. That’s going to be next weeks subject, but right now, we’re going to break bread, have a nice glass of wine and be grateful for such warm goodness. Have a great weekend….