Monday, February 14, 2011

251. Lemongrass and Spinach Chicken Soup, Healthy

Rotisserie-baked chickens, found in most of today's grocery stores, were not around when I was growing up and not even when my children were little. The first time I smelled the aroma of broasted chicken was when it wafted through the store where I shopped; it led me straight to the deli counter. There, under a heat lamp, sat plastic-domed boxes of browned and seasoned chickens. My first thought was that the birds looked small and withered. However, I was starving and had started to drool, so I bought two for dinner and took them home.

 Buying pre-cooked food is more expensive than home-cooking, but the cost can be minimized if one is creative. I pride myself with shopping wisely and if I spend money on a 'broasted' chicken I like to get my money's worth. Any leftover meat is usually made into a Chicken Pot Pie, (post # 151 ) or Barbecued Pulled Chicken (post # 95), and the bones and skin are always simmered in water for 2-3 hours to make a tasty broth for soup or other recipes. (Refrigerate strained broth; the fat will rise to the top for easy removal).

Lemongrass and Spinach Chicken Soup, while extremely easy to make, has an exotic and wonderful flavor. It makes a light, satisfying and healthy meal. Other vegetables may be substituted, but the lemongrass is a must. The vegetables used for my recipe were ones I had on hand...they taste wonderful with the lemon-flavored broth...and, yes, the broth was made from our last broasted chicken!

Lemongrass and Spinach Chicken Soup

3 C chicken broth
1 large stalk lemongrass, peeled and trimmed to 4 inches
4-5 fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 chicken breast, cooked and cut up
( Pictured: 13 oz can of chicken breast meat, drained)
1 C fresh baby spinach
1 green onion, chopped
1 ½ C cooked rice (more rice may be used if desired)
Pepper blend

Trim lemongrass as described in post # 242; pound bulb end slightly to release more flavor. Add broth to pot and drop in lemongrass piece, mushroom pieces and pepper blend to taste. Bring broth to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add chicken and spinach. Heat until spinach is wilted and chicken is heated through. Remove from heat and take out lemongrass.

Place ½ C of hot rice in each of three bowls. Divide soup by ladling gently on top of rice. Sprinkle each serving with onion pieces. Serves 3.

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