After several days of unusually warm weather, winter has arrived! At least we missed the worst of the winter storm, but it's still pretty nippy out there...a perfect day for soup!
There have been some studies done that indicate that folks who either start their dinners with soup, or make soup the main course, tend to eat fewer calories overall during that meal. With all the holiday parties coming, some of us (including me!) should probably be eating soup at every meal. I, for one, would be quite happy to do that.
I had some friends coming for a casual dinner recently, and running late, as usual, I didn't have time to do a lot of cooking. Fortunately I always keep some good bread in the freezer. When I bring it home, I wrap it first in foil, then put it in a plastic freezer bag. I can take it out of the freezer when I need it. It thaws fairly quickly at room temperature, and then it crisps up nicely in a hot oven. You'd never know it wasn't fresh from the bakery.
I also had all of the makings for this soup. I like using the fresh stuffed pastas--ravioli, borsellini (little purses), tortellini (modeled, by legend, from the navel of Venus)--that you find in the refrigerated section of all the supermarkets now. There is a great variety with all kinds of interesting fillings. They freeze well, too, right in their package. Usually you can cook them from the frozen state but they should be thawed before using in this particular recipe. I think you could use sausage stuffed ones in this recipe very nicely for a little variation of flavor. And I know it would be a great way to use up any holiday turkey leftovers.
With a pre-packaged bag of salad greens topped with a handful of toasted walnuts, some crumbled gorgonzola cheese and red wine vinaigrette, we had a lovely meal, This soup was declared quite tasty by everyone, so of course I must share it with you!
CHICKEN TORTELLINI SOUP
2 tbsp butter
1 cup onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups white mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
8 cups chicken stock
2 tbsp diced roasted red bell pepper or pimento
1 package fresh cheese tortellini
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2" cubes
Fresh cilantro or parsley, chopped, for garnish
In a large saucepan with a lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to get soft and translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until lightly browned. Add the curry powder and ground cumin and stir well. Add the chicken stock and roasted pepper or pimento. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes. You can do this ahead of time. When ready to serve, bring back to a boil. Add the tortellini and chicken cubes. Bring back to a boil, cover, remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls and top with minced cilantro or parsley for garnish. Serves 6 as a main course.