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Recipe for Spring Chicken Chowder with Asparagus and Peas. This soup also tastes good in winter, summer and fall -- just substitute in season vegetables.
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 whole chicken (about 3 pounds), rinsed, or 3 pounds skinless chicken thighs
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sweet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 bunch asparagus (about 12 ounces), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup half and half cream
- 1/4 cup minced Italian parsley
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
- 1. In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat until sizzling. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, celery and thyme and sauté until celery starts to soften, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour, salt and black pepper an sauté for 2 minutes.
- 2. Gradually whisk in stock. Add chicken and bay leaf. If chicken isn't immersed, add water or stock to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Partially cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 25 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and simmer until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a chicken breast registers 170°F (75°C), about 20 minutes. Skim the soup of any scum develops on the surface. Remove from heat.
- 3. Using tongs, transfer chicken to a large plate and let cool slightly. Remove skin and bones and discard. Shred meat into bite-size pieces and set aside.
- 4. Skim the fat from the surface of the stock with a large spoon and return to a simmer over medium heat. Add asparagus and peas; simmer until tender, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Stir in reserved chicken, half and half, parsley, cayenne, half the lemon zest and the lemon juice; reheat over medium heat until steaming, stirring often. Do not let boil. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper, if necessary.
- 5. Ladle into heated bowls and garnish with remaining lemon zest.
- We sometimes poach chicken in chicken stock and vegetables to make the stock richer and fuller tasting.
- We like to use a microplaner to grate citrus zest.
- Be careful not to let the soup boil after adding the half and half or it will curdle.