I got the new issue of Cooking Light last week, and I didn't find all that much that excited me. Boo. This recipe caught my eye though, and although I knew I'd have to make some modifications, I figured my family would enjoy it. Cooking Light often uses bacon in their soup recipes, and I always omit it, but this time I figured I'd try to find a substitute. I'm not exactly sure what flavor bacon is supposed to add, but I am thinking it's some sort of smoky and salty undertone, so I threw a tablespoon of smoked paprika into the pot. I definitely think it added a subtle smokiness, but I think I'd add even more, if I make it again. In fact, I might even add hot smoked paprika, instead of sweet, because that might add a nice oomph to the soup.
Anyway, this is a nice, solid recipe. My family really liked it. It's definitely basic, super easy to make, and easy to whip up, with whatever substitutions you have on hand. There were no complex flavors, and it wasn't one of those dishes I ate, and constantly thought, what is that amazing undertone?! I might have felt differently, if I had used the bacon, or if I had used chicken thighs, like the recipe suggests. This would be a great dinner for a house full of sick people, you know? A nice, comforting soup, a la Mommy. I'm sure I'll make it again, but I didn't really think twice about it, after dinner that night... 3 Bowls!
Cannellini beans, native to Tuscany, work beautifully in this rustic soup because they hold their shape after simmering in the flavorful broth. Serve with a crusty Italian bread, such as ciabatta, and a salad of bitter greens.
Other Time: 40 minutes minutes
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)
2 smoked bacon slices, chopped (I used a tbl of smoked paprike, instead)
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (I used a pound of chicken breasts)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup chopped plum tomato (I used canned)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (I used a tsp of dried)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups water
2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta) (I used brown rice)
1 (15-ounce) can organic white beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat 7 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan; set bacon aside.
2. Add chicken to drippings in pan; sauté 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add tomato, oregano, and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return bacon and chicken to pan. Stir in 2 cups water and broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Add orzo, and cook for 9 minutes or until al dente. Add beans; cook 2 minutes or until heated. Remove from heat; stir in parsley, vinegar, and salt.
CALORIES 335 ; FAT 9.9g (sat 2.8g,mono 2.5g,poly 1.5g); CHOLESTEROL 61mg; CALCIUM 64mg; CARBOHYDRATE 35.4g; SODIUM 530mg; PROTEIN 26g; FIBER 5.1g; IRON 3.2mg
Cooking Light, APRIL 2011