08 January, 2012

Alba's Chicken Soup | The Washington Post

Chef-restaurateur Geoff Tracy and journalist Norah O'Donnell credit the nanny of their three children for this recipe, which makes a huge amount of soup that will last, frozen, for 2 months. Pureed, the soup is suitable for children 8 months and older; omit a vegetable or two if you prefer.
The authors suggest that, batch by batch, the soup can be served in a less-pureed state as young palates mature.
Alba's Chicken Soup ingredients
Makes about 2 gallons
One 3.5- to 4-LB whole chicken, majority of skin and fat removed, giblet packet removed (discard or reserve for another use)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, cut into small dice (about 1 cup)
6-QTS cool water
1 cup uncooked brown rice
1 medium tomato, hulled and cut into small dice
1-LB carrots, trimmed and cut into small dice (about 5 cups)
1-LB celery, trimmed and cut into small dice (about 4 cups)
1 small (about 6-oz) russet potato, peeled and cut into small dice
1/4-LB green beans, trimmed and cut into small dice
1 medium (8-oz) zucchini, cut into small dice
1 or 2 yellow squash, trimmed and cut into small dice (8-oz total)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas (if using frozen, they do not have to be defrosted)
1 (5-oz) bag spinach, coarsely chopped (discard any tough stems)
Leaves and tender stems from 1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

Notes:  Before serving to adults, be sure to taste and season with salt and/or pepper. You may also like to swirl in a little butter (view Savory Compound Butter recipes) when reheating the soup on the stove.

You can refrigerate the soup for up to 3 days, or freeze in ice cube trays (many!) for up to 2 months. For easy storage, transfer the frozen cubes of soup to freezer-safe resealable plastic food storage bags.

Place the chicken, garlic and onion in a large stockpot (at least 8-QTS). Add the water and place over Medium-High heat. Once the water starts bubbling at the edges, reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for 45 minutes. The chicken will be just cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a colander to drain and cool. Meanwhile, add the brown rice and tomato to the pot. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice; the rice will not be quite cooked through.

Meanwhile, discard the chicken skin, bones, fat and cartilage. Coarsely chop the meat (to yield about 2-LBS) and hold on a plate.

Stir in the carrots, celery and potato. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Add the green beans, zucchini and yellow squash. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice, then add the peas.

Return the chopped chicken to the pot, along with the spinach. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring once or twice, then stir in the cilantro.

Use an immersion (stick) blender to purée to the desired consistency. If using a blender or food processor to purée the soup, transfer ladles of the soup's solids with a small amount of the liquid. Remove the center knob of the blender lid to allow steam to escape; place a clean dish towel over the opening.

When the soup has cooled to room temperature, use it to fill ice cube trays or freezer-safe plastic food storage bags. Freeze the bags flat. Once the soup cubes have frozen, transfer them to resealable plastic food storage bags.

Nutritional Info (Per Serving)
Serving size: Per 1/2-cup serving
Calories: 100
% Daily Values*
Total Fat: 3g 5
Saturated Fat: 1g 5
Cholesterol: 25mg 8
Sodium: 50mg 2
Total Carbohydrates: 10g 3
Dietary Fiber: 2g 8
Sugar: 2g
Protein: 10g
*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Total Fat: Less than 65g
Saturated Fat: Less than 20g
Cholesterol: Less than 300mg
Sodium: Less than 2,400mg
Total Carbohydrates: 300g
Dietary Fiber: 25g

The Washingtom Post adapted this recipe from Norah O'Donnell and Chef Geoff Tracy, Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2010).

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