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Comfort Food Part Two, Creamy Chicken Tarragon Soup

February 9, 2021

My 2021 Wish List:

I want to turn on the radio or TV and not hear the word Coronavirus.

I want to wake up with a great job, be ten pounds lighter, have a six pack, tiny thighs, and be living in a gorgeous house in Pittsburgh where snow is shoveled for me, unless I’m in the mood for a workout.

I’d also like to win the lottery.

And get a book or five published.

In the meantime, I’m making cream of chicken soup with tarragon because I had it once 36 years ago and it was delicious. Like some people never forget a pretty face, I never forget a meaningful food experience. Plus, doing nothing and going nowhere makes you crave comfort food as a replacement for things like children, friends, romance, and a life.

So, I went online and found a recipe on a blog called, GoodDinnerMom and one by Paula Deen, but Paula’s had four cups of heavy whipping cream and, of course, butter. (It’s a miracle she’s still alive.)

So, I made my own version using the Costco chicken in my freezer and fewer ingredients. Since I want to live to see the end of Covid, I cut the cream down to one and a half cups and the soup is still good. I think next time I’ll try it with no lemon juice and just lemon zest. Then it won’t need as much cream. You could add veggies too, like broccoli or zucchini which will take the health factor up a few notches.

And one other food note. Since I was using leeks in this recipe and didn’t want to waste the beautiful dark green tops. I put them in a pot with water and my Costco chicken carcass and let it boil. It didn’t need anything else, just a little salt and it was honestly a really good broth, so that’s what I used. Definitely try that sometime. Leeks are the best!

I hope this year is starting off well for you. If you have time, write and let me know what you’re doing to stay sane, or what your wish list is. I’ve been writing a lot, (just not here) and looking for work, which is truly a full time job. There are resumes to revise, people to stalk on Linked In, cover letters to write, friends to whine to, co-workers to miss, websites to curse, disappointments to get over, it’s exhausting. If you have a connection in Pittsburgh who needs a writer, let me know. I’m very ready to move.

And this was after already waiting for one hour, the line snaked all the way around to the right too.

In a rare moment of personal excitement, I got my first Covid vaccine at Dodger Stadium a couple weeks ago. The line snaked around so much it looked like Disneyland with cars instead of people. I had plenty of time to read the book I brought and even put make up on while waiting.

I waited 2.5 hours, then just as the woman put the needle in my arm, a giant gust of wind came out of nowhere blowing signs and trashcans over. The lady giving me my shot said, ” I’m just going to leave this in here (meaning my arm) until the wind dies down. My wedding day was really windy, and we all know how that turned out, so I hope this isn’t an omen. As of this writing, I’m still alive. Yay.

Hang in there. We’re making progress.

Creamy Chicken Tarragon Soup

Yields1 Serving

 1 rotisserie chicken
 8 inches of the green part of a large leek
 8 cups water
 5 tbsp butter
 3 cups leeks chopped
 4 tbsp flour
 1 ½ cups whipping cream (heated in microwave)
 2 ½ cups chicken broth
 ½ juice and rind of one half of a lemon
 1 tbsp dried tarragon

1

Place the chicken carcass in a large pot, almost cover it with water and add the rinsed tops of one large leek. (You don't have to cut the leek tops into small pieces, just put the 8 inch lengths in and let the carcass come to a boil. Then turn it down, cover it with a lid, and let it simmer for about an hour. Do this before you start on the soup because you need this broth for it. When cooked, discard the leeks, remove the chicken from the bone, and cut chicken into one inch chunks. Set it aside.

2

Place the butter and the 3 cups of chopped leeks in a frying pan and saute them until they're soft and translucent. Once cooked, add the flour and mix together. It'll be a little clumpy.

3

Next add the hot cream and stir over low heat. Then add the two and a half cups of chicken broth you've just created and the lemon rind, juice and tarragon. Mix well. I used my immersion blender to chop up the leeks after this step, and it was nice and smooth.

4

Then add the chopped chicken chunks (I love alliteration) and stir well. Add additional salt to taste. Heat thoroughly and serve with a nice piece of crusty toasted bread.

Ingredients

 1 rotisserie chicken
 8 inches of the green part of a large leek
 8 cups water
 5 tbsp butter
 3 cups leeks chopped
 4 tbsp flour
 1 ½ cups whipping cream (heated in microwave)
 2 ½ cups chicken broth
 ½ juice and rind of one half of a lemon
 1 tbsp dried tarragon

Directions

1

Place the chicken carcass in a large pot, almost cover it with water and add the rinsed tops of one large leek. (You don't have to cut the leek tops into small pieces, just put the 8 inch lengths in and let the carcass come to a boil. Then turn it down, cover it with a lid, and let it simmer for about an hour. Do this before you start on the soup because you need this broth for it. When cooked, discard the leeks, remove the chicken from the bone, and cut chicken into one inch chunks. Set it aside.

2

Place the butter and the 3 cups of chopped leeks in a frying pan and saute them until they're soft and translucent. Once cooked, add the flour and mix together. It'll be a little clumpy.

3

Next add the hot cream and stir over low heat. Then add the two and a half cups of chicken broth you've just created and the lemon rind, juice and tarragon. Mix well. I used my immersion blender to chop up the leeks after this step, and it was nice and smooth.

4

Then add the chopped chicken chunks (I love alliteration) and stir well. Add additional salt to taste. Heat thoroughly and serve with a nice piece of crusty toasted bread.

Creamy Chicken Tarragon Soup

  • Reply
    Leslie
    February 21, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    Your soup sounds amazing. As always you’ve got my taste buds perking up like a dog’s ears when a siren goes by.
    Kudos to you for surviving the prolonged needle stick. The thought of you having that thing in your arm for longer than usual makes me swoon, and not in an “I’ve seen Elvis” way. When I was a kid I was always being dragged to the doctor because of severe asthma issues, and that man had the oldest, dullest hypodermics which were the size of knitting needles. He was forever slamming those needles into my tender little hiney. The pain was incredible. Even my mom would shed a silent tear whenever she got a shot from that grizzled old doctor. All that to say that I’ve got a keen fear of needles, but even so I can’t wait to get the vaccine. Unfortunately I’m one year short of qualifying for the coveted place in line, and my asthma doesn’t get me a pass. So I’ll just wait till the summer when apparently we’ll all get our turn and theoretically life will return to normal. Meanwhile my husband and I continue to pass the days together (he’s working from home and we’re grateful for the income), we do a lot of reading and we rot our brains on a lot of Netflix and Hulu. Old sitcoms and shows that allow us to peek into far-flung places in the Caribbean where people move to escape the cold of northern climes, these are the things that fill our languid hours. We also wander the streets of Old Town Pasadena every couple of weeks, gazing at the old architecture that we love, and dreaming of the days when we can safely eat inside of a restaurant again (oh for the days when we took for granted a lunch on the balcony at Cafe Santorini…. who would have ever thought that we would become virtual shut-ins and those balmy days would be the things of dreams past…
    Thanks for the great posts, Fran! I hope that the perfect job comes along soon! Take care!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 24, 2021 at 7:20 pm

      Leslie, I hear ya. I love Pasadena and can’t wait for life to go back to normal. As for your childhood doctor, I totally get it. I used to get sick a lot too as a kid and when I got my tonsils out, it took four nurses to hold me down and get that shot in my butt. No fun at all. I’m better about it now, thank God. I get my second shot tomorrow. I hope you get yours soon. I would happily meet you at Santorini any day! Thanks for writing and stay well and happy. xoxo

  • Reply
    Chas Madonio
    February 10, 2021 at 10:59 am

    Hey Fran! Good to hear from you again. We made the ham & cabbage dish (Patti’s recipe) and it was really good. Glad to hear you got your shot. Nancy and I got our first one yesterday, but it took what seemed like forever to get an appointment. There’s no discernible system in Ohio – just register everywhere and hope you get a call. But we finally score an appointment although I had to drive to the west side of Cleveland to get mine when there are dozens of local places. But I got it and that’s all that matters. Our lives are still in a holding pattern. It’s sure no exciting, but we will stay hunkered down until it’s safe to get back into circulation. Stay safe.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 10, 2021 at 7:58 pm

      Oh Chas, I’m so happy for you and Nancy. I’ll feel so much better after shot #2. And I’m glad you liked the ham and cabbage. It’s so simple, but sometimes simple really hits the spot. Patty will be pleased! It looks like staying patterns are all we get to look forward to for another few months! Happy Mardi Gras. I remember being at your house for a party once, it was such fun. Take care!

  • Reply
    Emil Mitchell
    February 10, 2021 at 6:33 am

    Looks & Sounds Great, Trying This Weekend Ms Fran, Thanks A Million!

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 10, 2021 at 10:15 am

      Thanks Emil – for always reading and taking the time to respond. Good luck and let me know how it turns out. Taste it as you add lemon juice, adjusting accordingly. I thought the juice of a whole lemon was too much, so I halved it. It might need even less. Good luck. Let me know how it goes! xo

  • Reply
    Jennifer S Pino
    February 10, 2021 at 3:45 am

    Enjoyed this post Fran! Going to try the recipie.

    • Reply
      Fran Tunno
      February 10, 2021 at 10:13 am

      Thanks Jen! I so appreciate that you take the time to read and respond. It means so much to me! I hope you are well. Taste it as you make it and adjust the lemon juice accordingly. The reason it needed lots of cream was because it was pretty lemony. I think zest might do it with just a little juice. So, try it and let me know your thoughts. I hope you, Tom and the kids are healthy and happy. xoxoxo

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