Nothing warms you up on a cold winter evening like a bowl of soup. I love soup any time of the year, and even more so in winter (even if my cold winter evenings average about 50F....) This soup is both bright and comforting. The apples and leeks blend together perfectly, and it is just creamy enough to be soul-satisfying.
Serve it with crusty French bread or over wild rice. You'll love this take on traditional chicken soup! And be sure to check out my *Simple Substitutions* at the end of the recipe to help you maintain that New Year's Resolution.
Chicken Apple and Leek Soup
Ingredients (6 Servings)
- 1 chicken, quartered
- 2 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 leeks, w/ 1 green,sliced
- 2 granny smith apples, peeled
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup unweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons AppleJack brandy (optional)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Melt the butter over medium heat in a saute pan just large enough to hold the chicken. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for about eight minutes over medium heat. If the butter in the pan starts to brown, lower the heat slightly.
Turn the chicken and light saute in the same way for five minutes more. Remove the chicken from the pan and place it in a bowl.
If the butter in the saute pan has burned, pour it out and replace it with two tablespoons fresh butter. Add the leeks and cook them for 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir the leeks every couple of minutes - we want them to be soft but not brown.
Put the chicken back in the pan with the leeks. Add the apples, apple juice, apple sauce, vinegar and broth. Bring the liquids to a slow simmer and with a ladle skim off any fat or froth that floats to the top. Cover the pot and simmer the chicken very gently for 10-15 minutes, until it is completely cooked. Remove the chicken and let it cool.
Remove and discard the skin and pull the meat away from the bones. Cut the meat into half inch chunks. Use a ladle to skim off any fat that has formed on the surface of the liquid in a saute pan. Add the AppleJack brandy and the heavy cream. Bring to a simmer and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chicken back to the soup and simmer for two minutes.
Serve immediately in hot bowls.
+ Replace whole chicken with 1 pound boneless skinless check breast and 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (reduces the amount of fat by removing the skin, and keeps the lovely flavor by using the combination of white and dark meat)
+ Use fat-free. low sodium chicken broth (for all of the flavor and none of the fat, AND less sodium!)
+ Reduce butter from 2 tablespoons to 1/2 tablespoon (Using this small amount of butter will add a lot of flavor to the soup without a lot of fat and calories)
+ Exchange fat free half and half for the heavy cream (Fat free half and half is a great way to get the creaminess of heavy cream without the cream - and you will love the creaminess of this soup!)