Barefoot Contessa’s Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Soup and Salad
This soup recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s latest cookbook, Modern Comfort Food, is silky, creamy deliciousness. An explosion of flavor from the leeks, carrots and fennel combined with fresh tarragon, cream sherry and a Parmesan cheese rind tossed in for an extra layer of flavor. To round out the dish, Ina also uses whole pearl onions and peas. (There are no peas in my dish as Tom paid me $1 million to leave them out. For $1 million, I would do just about anything! Ha Ha!)
Then to make it a “pot pie” there are tiny puff pastry croutons for the top. Yum, yum, yum!
You may wonder why there is no ingredient photo with this post. That is because I didn’t plan for it to be a post (not everything makes the cut!) as it received less than stellar reviews. Gasp! Not bad reviews, but not the usual love for Ina, garnering a 3-star rating (out of 5) after appearing in Parade. I decided to forge ahead, but I did skip taking time for the ingredient photo.
And Wow! I am so glad I made this! Other than leaving the peas out, the only thing I changed was to add a big pinch of herbs de Provence while the fennel, leeks and carrots were sautéing. I also added 4 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base to the 7 cups of canned chicken broth rather than making homemade stock.
As I write this post, the aromas from the leftovers simmering on the stove are making my stomach growl. My only thought about the less than stellar ratings is that possibly people skipped some of the ingredients which I would not recommend as the layering of flavors is what makes this recipe so perfect. From the fresh tarragon to the cream sherry to that Parmesan cheese rind, perfection. I do think you can substitute a rotisserie chicken if you don’t have the time to roast the chicken breasts and if you skip the peas and/or pearl onions it will still be delicious. Personally, I LOVE peas but, apparently, I love my husband more.
I am so happy soup season has arrived!!
3 chicken breasts, skin on, bone-in (2 ½ to 3 pounds total)
Good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (3 medium leeks, trimmed and washed)
4 cups chopped fennel, tops and core removed (2 medium-large bulbs)
3 cups carrots, tops removed, scrubbed and diced (5 medium (1/2-inch) with tops on for better taste)
1 tablespoon herbs de Provence (optional)
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves (more Is better in my opinion)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
¼ cup Wondra flour
¾ cup cream sherry, divided
1 (2 x 3-inch) piece of Italian Parmesan cheese rind
7 cups homemade chicken stock (or 7 cups of good chicken broth with 4 teaspoons of Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base added)
1 cup frozen whole pearl onions
1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas
¼ cup minced fresh Big Leaf parsley
Puff Pastry Croutons (recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the chicken skin side up and rub with olive oil; season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 minutes, until a thermometer registers 130 to 140 degrees. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove and discard the skin and bones. Dice the chicken.Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks, fennel, carrots and herbs de Provence (if using) and stir over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until the leeks are tender but not browned.
Stir in the garlic and tarragon and cook for one minute. Sprinkle on the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of the sherry, the chicken broth, 4 teaspoons salt, 1 ½ teaspoons pepper and the Parmesan rind. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.Add the chicken, peas, and onions and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove the Parmesan rind and add the remaining ¼ cup sherry and the chopped parsley.
Serve in shallow bowls with two Puff Pastry croutons on top.
Puff Pastry Croutons
While the soup is simmering, bake the Puff Pastry Croutons.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted (leave in refrigerator until ready to use as it needs to be cold)
1 extra-large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream (egg wash)
Kosher and fresh ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat.
Lightly dust a board with the flour. Carefully unfold the puff pastry sheet, dust it lightly with flour, and roll out the pastry to smooth out the folds.
With your cookie cutter of choice (Ina used star-shaped and fluted rounds), cut 12 shapes out of the pastry and place on the prepared pan.
Recipe very slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s Chicken Pot Pie Soup (Modern Comfort Food) [AMAZON LINK]