I am sorry that I abandoned you in the heart of the storm. Full disclosure, we were visiting my parents and enjoying snow where snow belongs–in Bozeman, Montana. In between skiing and sledding, I was getting updates from home (I am forever indebted to our intrepid dog sitter for holding down the fort) and was just ever so slightly disappointed that we were missing the excitement. Regardless, I did plan to post remotely on Monday but lo and behold, we woke up to a powder day. As every skier knows…”there are no friends on powder days,” and therefore up and out I went. And, so it goes.
We arrived home yesterday, as scheduled, with the kids not missing a single day of school, practice or game. As a matter of fact, schools are still closed today (this is how we roll in Maryland) so they have a day to “recuperate.” I will try to make up for lost time by spending the day cooking up an array of comfort foods. Successes will be detailed here in future posts. But for now, I have for you a delightful chicken soup because nothing warms your bones on a cold winter day like chicken noodle soup. Despite the fact that everyone has their own version, I think that this Couscous Chicken Soup, from Soup Addict, is worth a try for several reasons.
First, the pearl or Israeli couscous (the big balls vs. tiny balls of regular couscous) replaces the traditional noodle and doesn’t get soggy. Second, the addition of ginger and lemongrass (both which can be bought as pastes in most supermarket produce sections) not only give a dimension to the flavor but seem to amp up the soup’s legendary healing powers. And lastly, the color. Just a pinch of turmeric deepens the color of the broth and enhances the soup’s visual appeal.
With all that said, this Couscous Chicken Soup is still as easy to make as any other version and relies upon pre-cooked (read: store bought/rotisserie/leftover) chicken. You will notice that the soup thickens considerably as it sits–the couscous seems to magically absorb copious amounts of liquid. So unless you want a stew (which is fine if you do), add more chicken broth, as needed. If you are reheating leftovers, just add some water. Stay warm and enjoy!
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- 1 c chopped onion (about 1/2 of a medium)
- 3/4 c sliced leeks (about 1 medium, white and light green parts only)
- 1/2 c sliced carrots (about 1 medium)
- 1/2 c chopped celery (about 2 ribs)
- 1 Tbls minced ginger
- 1 Tbls minced lemongrass (or paste)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 c chicken stock (plus more if soup sits or needs to be reheated)
- 8 oz cooked chicken, chopped or shredded (rotisserie chicken is great)
- 1 c pearl (Israeli) couscous
- 1/2 of a lemon
- salt and pepper
- chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a 4 to 5 quart Dutch oven or stock pot over medium. When it begins to sizzle, add the onions, leeks, carrots, and celery.
- Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 6 minutes.
- Stir in the ginger, lemongrass, and garlic, and heat until aromatic.
- Sprinkle the turmeric over the vegetables and stir.
- Add the stock, chicken, and couscous, and bring to a light boil.
- Reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer; cook for 15 minutes.
- Squeeze the half lemon into the soup, taste, and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
- Top with parsley before serving.