I make a lot of soup. It's so easy and so filling, and on cold winter days it is so, so satisfying. It's a bonus that all but one in my family likes soup. I'm still holding out hope for her.
This soup comes from a past botched attempt to make my own chicken pot pie recipe. On one hand, it's pretty sad when you don't look at your own recipe and then you mess it up. On the other hand, sometimes it works out and you end up with something new and very tasty. Now this soup is a regular on our dinner table.
Note: As I made this latest pot, it occurred to me that I could probably use less flour if I made the soup the same way I make my Clam Chowder (cook flour, butter, and milk in a separate pot until really thick, then add to the pot with veggies and broth). We have cut our total carbohydrates to support my amazing husband as he works to get his blood sugar under control (he is very fit, but his genetics have failed him, and he does not want to take insulin), so I'm constantly looking for ways to shave off any extra carbs I can without it getting ridiculous. I'm going to try it and I'll post an update for everyone.
Creamy Chicken-Tarragon Soup
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 large carrots, scraped and diced
2 large ribs celery, diced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons dried tarragon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
few shakes cayenne pepper, optional
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 32-oz cartons chicken broth (8 cups)
2 cups 2% or whole milk
2 small russet potatoes, peeled and diced
2 cups cooked, diced chicken
1. Heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes. Add the tarragon, thyme, and cayenne pepper. Continue cooking and stirring until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown, about 5 more minutes. You will notice brown stuff sticking to the bottom of the pan. This is fond. Fond is good. The more browning you have, the deeper the flavor and darker the color of the finished soup.
2. Add the butter and let it melt. Add the flour and stir until everything is coated. Cook, stirring often for 3-4 more minutes.
3. Being very careful of the steam, add one of the cartons of chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula to get up all the browned bits. Add the remaining carton of broth and the milk, and stir well to dissolve all of the flour (sometimes I need to use a whisk to loosen up everything). Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a low boil, stirring often.
4. Add the potatoes and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the soup has thickened, 5-8 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer for a few more minutes to heat it through.
Makes about 3 quarts of soup.