3 simple chicken soup dishes

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Rice and chicken thigh meat are slow-cooked in Rice and chicken thigh meat are slow-cooked in chicken broth seasoned with fresh ginger to make a simple version of traditional, soothing Chinese porridge. (December 2013) Photo Credit: Marge Perry

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Marge Perry Newsday columnist Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.

TIP Low-sodium chicken broths can vary greatly in saltiness and sodium content. These recipes were tested using an organic brand with 70 mg sodium per cup.

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CONGEE (RICE PORRIDGE)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 tablespoon minced ginger

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

1 cup long-grain rice

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

4 ounces snow peas, halved

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup chopped scallions (green parts only)

1. Heat sesame and canola oils in large pot over medium-high. Add ginger and cook, stirring, 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add chicken and cook without moving until it releases easily from pan surface, about 2 minutes. Stir and cook until it is barely pink on outside, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Add rice, stir to coat, and add broth plus 2 cups water. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 30 minutes.

2. Stir in the soy sauce, and snow peas; cook 1 minute. Taste and add salt, if needed; stir in scallions and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 388 calories, 11 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 28 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 623 mg sodium

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AVGOLEMENO (GREEK EGG-LEMON SOUP)

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1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

12 ounces boneless chicken breast, cut into 2-inch pieces

3/4 cup orzo

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1. Heat oil in large soup pot over medium-high. Add onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes until somewhat softened. Add broth, bring to a boil and immediately reduce to simmer. Add chicken and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through; remove from broth with slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl.

2. Bring the broth back to a boil and add the orzo; cook 8 to 9 minutes, until barely al dente.

3. Whisk the eggs, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt together. Slowly pour the mixture into the broth, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Shred the chicken with a fork and stir it into the soup. Top each serving with parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 329 calories, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 30 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 478 mg sodium

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SOUTHWESTERN TORTILLA SOUP

3 corn tortillas

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 green pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice

1 cup chopped onion

12 ounces boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 cups lower-sodium chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle in adobo sauce

1 cup frozen corn

1/2 an avocado, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

2. Brush the tortillas lightly on both sides with 1 tablespoon of oil. Cut them into 1/4-inch wide strips and place in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the ground cumin. Bake, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes.

3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot. Add the garlic, green pepper and onion, and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken, sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon of cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until the outside is no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the broth, tomatoes, chipotle and bring to a boil; immediately reduce to a simmer and continue to gently simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the corn, cook 2 to 3 minutes longer (until corn is heated through).

4. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each with avocado and tortilla strips. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving 359 calories, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 25 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 717 mg sodium

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