Soups are perfect for showcasing the best of each season, from asparagus in the spring to cabbage in the fall and winter. Packed with spring vegetables, this particular recipe is light and summery, making it ideal for warmer weather. A bit of lemon and fresh dill brighten it up and give it a bit of zip.
Some Helpful Tips: Dill is best when it’s fresh (vs. cooked) so add it at the very end of cooking. Don’t use dried dill – it doesn’t have much flavour. Use fresh lemon juice and always zest a lemon whole, before cutting it open to juice it.
Spring Chicken Soup
Makes about 9 to 10 cups
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 X 12 oz. (350 grams) chicken breasts or thighs/legs, bone in and skin on
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 2 medium leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 3 large spring onions (or 1 small regular onion), chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced (you could also you a couple of garlic scapes, chopped finely)
- The zest of one lemon, finely grated
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1 lb. (450 grams) thick asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
- 12 oz. (350 grams) baby red potatoes (about 2 cups), cut into quarters
- 6 cups good quality chicken stock
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill (or more, to taste)
- 1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pat the skin of the chicken dry and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. In a large stockpot or enameled cast iron pot (5.5 quart or larger), heat the olive oil on medium-high. Add the chicken pieces and brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside on a plate. Add the carrots, leeks, celery, onions and garlic to the pot. Sauté until just beginning to soften, about three minutes. Stir in the lemon zest and thyme and cook for another minute.
- Add the asparagus pieces and potatoes. Pour in the chicken stock. Return the browned chicken pieces to the pot and make sure they are submerged in the stock.
- Cover the pot and simmer gently on medium heat for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove the chicken pieces from the soup. Remove the skin and discard. Using a fork, pull the meat off the bones. Chop it into small pieces and return the chicken to the soup, discarding the bones.
- Add the lemon juice,dill and chives and simmer the soup for another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with more fresh dill and chives if desired.