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Chicken and Escarole Soup

1 frying chicken -- (3-1/2 to 4 lbs), cut up
1 large onion -- finely chopped
1 small carrot -- thinly sliced
1 sprig parsley
1 bay leaf
1 celery stalk -- chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups water
1/4 cup tiny shell macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups escarole -- inner leaves only, thinly sliced
salt -- to taste
grated parmesan cheese -- for garnish

1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine chicken pieces, onion, carrot, parsley, bay leaf, celery, salt, nutmeg, pepper, thyme, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours, until chicken is very tender. Strain broth; remove and discard skin and bones from chicken. Cut chicken into large pieces. Discard vegetables and whole seasonings. Return chicken to broth. (This much can be prepared ahead, if you wish, and reheated later.)

2. Reheat soup to a gentle boil. Add macaroni and cook, uncovered, until just tender (see package directions for macaroni cooking time).

3. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, over medium heat, melt butter; cook escarole in butter, stirring until it is wilted and bright green (about 3 minutes). Stir escarole mixture into soup. Season with salt. Serve in broad soup bowls sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

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