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.
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!