Friday, April 17, 2015

Lemon Coconut Cream Chicken Soup (with vegan option too!)

For the last week I've been dealing with a cold. I made it through the entire winter cold free but as soon as the sun came out, bam!  I  got sick.  Well, who doesn't want a nice hot bowl of soup when they've got the sniffles?

I usually make chicken soup on a weekly basis so this week I thought I'd jazz it up a bit with some coconut cream and lemon.  OMG it was delicious!  The cream gave it that richness it was missing and adding the lemon was like tasting sunshine. Or maybe it's because I haven't seen the sun in oh...six months so anything fruity tastes like sunshine to me.

Although I do use chicken stock and chicken breast, this recipe can easily be made vegan by substituting vegetable stock and either leaving out the chicken or adding tofu instead.

Please note: Always check labels and manufacturing processes to ensure there is no evidence of any food allergens you may be sensitive to. 

Lemon Coconut Cream Chicken Soup:

3 quarts chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
4 large carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
3/4 cup coconut milk (Native Forest brand is best)
1 1/2 cup cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups kale, chopped (can use other greens like swiss chard, beet greens, etc) 
1 1/2 cup gluten free pasta (I like Tinkyada shell pasta for this)
1 1/2 cup corn
8 oz cooked chicken breast, cut in bite size pieces* (substitute tofu or leave out)
juice from one lemon
salt to taste (less is more...)

*If the chicken breast is not yet cooked: preheat the oven to 375 degrees, rinse and lightly salt the chicken then wrap in aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until fully cooked through. Cut into bite size pieces and set aside.

Pour chicken stock into a large pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat. While waiting for the stock to boil cut and prep all the vegetables. Once the stock comes to a boil add the gluten free pasta.  Following directions on the pasta packaging for cooking time, set a timer for about 5 minutes prior to the pasta being done.  When the timer goes off add the carrots, celery, garlic, cabbage, onion, kale and corn.  Lower the heat to a slow boil. Reset the timer for 5 minutes.  After five minutes turn the heat to simmer and add the basil and coconut milk. Stir thoroughly. Taste to see if the soup needs additional salt or coconut milk.  It should taste like a light creamy chicken soup. Add the chicken breast and half of the lemon juice.  Taste.  If you do not taste a slight hint of lemon then add more.  The lemon should not be overpowering.  

I should warn you that the pasta will continue to absorb the liquid to infinity and beyond so if you put the soup in the fridge overnight don't be surprised to see gargantuan sized noodles the next day. It still tastes just as delicious but they definitely take up a lot of space.

 Now grab a big bowl and a big spoon, curl up on the sofa with a cozy blanket and enjoy!

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