I've been making homemade chicken soup for a little over a year now. It's the perfect compliment to the cold weather that we just can not seem to get away from these days. It's also a great meal for those of us who still can't shake those nasty colds! The idea of adding tortellini came to me earlier this month, when we were having our annual post-holiday dinner at our friend Lorena's house. Lorena and her mom served chicken soup with tortellini as a first course. We all agreed that the soup alone would have made for a delicious meal - and this says a lot, considering how amazing and off-the-charts all of the home-cooked meals have always been when we get together. You see, these are the meals that set the bar for what I myself attempt to make. I hope that my version of this soup gets me one step closer!
CHICKEN TORTELLINI SOUP
4 chicken thighs (inexpensive and offers more flavor than white meat)
2 bouillon cubes
1 medium onion, cut into quarters
2 cups frozen crinkle cut carrots
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/2 tspn salt (or to taste)
1 soup blend packet (oregano, rosemary, thyme - found in produce section of grocery store). I like to place the herbs in a cheesecloth pouch (usually available up the baking needs aisle). It acts like a tea bag, allowing the herbs to flavor the broth without floating freely in the soup.
1 10oz pack frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 16oz package of cheese tortellini
Pour 8 quarts water into a large pot. Bring water to a boil, add chicken. Reduce water to a simmer, cover pot partially, cook chicken for 1 hour, 45 minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked. Skim any fat that floats to surface of water. Remove chicken, let cool. Keep water in pot at a simmer. Add bouillon cubes, onion, carrots, celery, salt, and soup blend herbs.
When chicken has cooled, remove and discard skin. Shred meat off of bones with fork, discard bones. Add shredded meat to soup.
Add spinach to soup. Let simmer, stirring occasionally.
Approximately 20 minutes before serving, add tortellini.
Remove cheesecloth herb pack and discard.
Serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.
BONUS - Replace the spinach and tortellini with escarole and mini meatballs for Escarole, a.k.a. S'cadole, a.k.a. Italian Wedding Soup!