Honeytown Meats has some of the best beef I have ever eaten (you should see the marbling on a ribeye steak I had). However, when I purchased my first box, it included two packages of chicken tenders. Normally, I would bread and deep fry them, but my wife and I were following a 21-day eating plan, so we made chicken vegetable soup. You won’t believe what I did to mix up the recipe a little bit.
First, a word about my ‘recipes’
My mother, Carmen, is of Italian heritage. Her grandparents emigrated from Italy to the United States. When my mother cooks, she doesn’t use recipes. It’s “a pinch of this,” “a little bit of that” and other directions that do not offer much help when you are trying to cook one of her dishes.
Unfortunately, I am my mother’s son. I don’t really follow recipes. When I cook, I have an idea of what I want to do, and I just add a pinch of this and a little bit of that. When I decided to make some chicken vegetable soup (sorry, no noodles, we avoided eating pasta on the eating plan), I decided I would try to catalog what I used to make the soup.
Making the Chicken Vegetable Soup
I started off by dicing the shallots and slicing carrots and celery. When you slice vegetables for soup, you want them nice and thin so they cook quicker and will fit nicely in a spoon.
If you are using regular carrots, peel them, cut the ends off, wash them, and then cut them in half lengthwise. With the celery, remove the leaves, wash the stalks thoroughly, and cut off the ends.
Because the celery and carrots are wider on the bottom, you can cut a slit in the bottom halves to make the individual slices smaller. A word of caution when slicing vegetables: Always keep the point of the knife on the cutting board, and be sure to curl your fingers when holding the vegetables on the cutting board. Rest the side of the knife’s blade on your curled fingers and slowly and steadily slice the veggies.
Wendi and I do not like onions, but we can eat shallots (sort of a cross between onion and garlic). I like to dice the shallot finely so it basically cooks down to nothing.
Put some garlic-infused olive oil in the dutch oven. Set the burner to medium high. Brown your Honeytown Meats chicken tenders and set them aside.
Add a little more oil and the shallots to the pan. Sautee them for a while and then add the carrots and celery. Cook them until they are softened. While they are cooking, dice the chicken. Toss in the chicken, the seasonings and the water, bring to a boil and then simmer.
When I tasted the soup it was good, but I wanted to give it some depth of flavor. I grabbed a bottle of balsamic vinegar and added a little bit to the soup while it was simmering. I can’t believe what a nice touch it added.
5 Reasons chicken soup is good for you
I always heard that chicken soup was very healthy, but I never understood why. An insurance company published a blog post stating 5 reasons why chicken soup is healthy. Here are the reasons:
- Chicken soup strengthens the immune system
- Chicken soup helps to keep you hydrated because it is filled with electrolytes
- The ingredients in chicken soup contain immune-boosting antioxidants and nutrients
- Adding noodles can help you feel full and satisfied
- It is a comfort food and provides an emotional and psychological lift
Chicken Vegetable Soup recipe
1 lb Honeytown Meats chicken tenders (or chicken breast)
3 stalks of celery
6 cups of water
1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Tuscan Garlic-Herb Olive Oil
Before you start making the soup, dice the shallot (you can use a small onion, but Wendi and I do not eat onions), and slice the carrots and celery into small, bite-sized pieces.
Heat up a dutch oven on medium high heat and add a Tablespoon of the Tuscan oil (you can substitute with olive oil and a teaspoon of minced garlic). Dust the chicken tenders with salt and pepper and brown them for about 3 or 4 minutes per side. Set the chicken aside.
Put a little more oil in the dutch oven and add the shallots. Sprinkle a little salt on the diced shallots to sweat them. Sautee the shallots for about 4 minutes, then add the carrots and celery. Sautee for 6 to 7 minutes. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the dutch oven as the vegetables release water. It will help to deglaze the fond (the brown bits of chicken on the bottom of the pan) and add more flavor to the soup.
While the vegetables are cooking, dice the chicken up. If there are any juices from the chicken, add it to the pan.
When the vegetables are softened, add the diced chicken to the dutch oven, along with a little salt, pepper, oregano and garlic-herb mix (you can use granulated garlic). Look to see how much chicken base you need to make six cups of broth. (Example, the chicken base I use takes 2 tsp of base for 1 cup. So, I added 12 tsp for 6 cups of water.) It is always best to use less base than needed. You can always add more.
Bring everything to a boil and then simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour. While the soup is simmering, add 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar. It gives a nice depth of flavor.
You can always add cooked noodles to the soup, or you can add some dry noodles and extra water while it is cooking. As I mentioned earlier, we were avoiding pasta.
Try Honeytown Meats chicken
To try Honeytown Meats’ chicken, you can purchase the Beef and Chicken Box; the Beef, Goat & Chicken Box; the Build Your Own Box; or you can simply purchase the chicken separately. I like the Build Your Own Box option; it is a great deal.