Saturday, January 1, 2011

Gnocchi Soup - Inspired by friends...

This soup was inspired by Chris at ‘nibblemethis.com’ that apparently got his inspiration from Copykat.com's clone of Olive Garden Chicken and Gnocchi soup.  I added a cup of pre-cooked chicken back to this recipe to complete my variation.  The results are amazing, however about half way through preparation I remembered why soups are not my favorite cook e.g. estimated prep to table time is 2+ hours, lots of prep and babysitting. 

Ingredients
5 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter
1 Cup, Sweet Onion, diced
½ Cup Celery, finely diced
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
5 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Half and Half
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Cup Whole Milk (or whatever you usually have in the fridge)
3/4 cup carrots, shredded and then chopped
2 Cups, Beef Stock
2 Cups, Fresh Spinach, rinsed, stemmed and chopped
1 Large roasted Poblano Chile; seeded and chopped (roast in the microwave after chopping)
1 Lb. Potato Gnocchi
1 Tsp. ground Thyme
¾ Tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tsp. Sea Salt
Strong ¼ Cup Corn Starch
14 oz. Can, Pre-Cooked White Meat Chicken
Garnish: Homemade croutons (sweet wheat buns, cut into cubes and toasted lightly)

Preparation
1.    In a large stew pot melt the butter in a pan over medium heat and sauté the onions, garlic and celery until the onions start turning translucent  
2.    Sprinkle in the flour while stirring and cook for a few minutes to make into a light roux[1].
3.    Remove from heat and stir in the half & half, heavy cream and milk.    
4.    Return to heat and simmer until thickened and starting to reduce (about 15-20 minutes); Note: From this point on in the preparation the heat should be at simmer. 
5.    Add the carrots, stock, spinach, poblano, and seasonings the simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently until liquid have reduced.   
6.    While reducing these ingredients, boil water and cook the gnocchi until it floats to the top of the water; drain and set aside.
7.    Remove 1-2 cups of the mixture and liquefy in a food processor. 
8.    Whisk in the starch and return mixture to the pot.
9.    Add the cooked gnocchi, cooked chicken. Stir and let warm through.
10.  Serve topped with homemade wheat croutons


[1] Roux (pronounced /ˈruː/) is a cooked mixture of wheat flour and fat, traditionally clarified butter. It is the thickening agent of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking: sauce béchamel, sauce velouté and sauce espagnole. Butter, vegetable oils, or lard are commonly used fats. It is used as a thickener for gravy, other sauces, soups and stews. It is typically made from equal parts of flour and fat by weight.[1] When used in Italian food, roux is traditionally equal parts of butter and flour.