Springtime Chicken Soup

Spring can be a challenging time of year, at least in the DC area.  The weather jumps around like crazy, sometimes it’s under 50, and a day or two later it can be over 80.  The mornings and nights are cold, but the afternoons are delightfully warm.  All I want to do is embrace the sunny warmth, but cold winds make dresses and skirts a bit premature.

Well this soup, is perfect for this awkward winter-spring transition.  It has the warmth and comfort of a winter soup, but the light freshness of a summer dish.  Lemon keeps it sparkly and new, while frozen peas add a bright pop of color and sweet spring flavor.  One bite of this had me ladling up a bowlful in no time.  It’s super easy to throw together, and would freeze well too.  This would also be a comforting bowl of delicious if you happen to catch a springtime cold.

I started this by cooking the chicken breasts in the oven at 350° with a drizzle of olive oil and a good sprinkle of coarse salt and pepper on both sides.  It took about 25 minutes maybe, but basically when I was ready to add them to the soup they were cooked all the way through.

Springtime Chicken SoupSpringtime Chicken Soup (A Seat at the Table)

Serves about 12

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod and Bon Appetit magazine (April 2013)

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 small leeks, halved and thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 12 cups (96 oz) chicken broth
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 3 cups cooked shredded chicken (about 2 large chicken breasts)
  • 1 bag (16oz) frozen peas
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley minced to garnish

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Sauté the leeks until soft, and then add carrots and celery.  Sauté the vegetables until soft, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper while you wait.

Add chicken broth, lemon zest and juice, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Add chicken and heat through.  About 5 minutes before serving, add frozen peas and allow to just heat through before serving.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.  Serve and garnish with minced parsley.  Enjoy!

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