Do you have a favorite family recipe, that you crave non-stop?
Your favorite meal – that in one single bite – brings to mind a flood of
beautiful, family memories?
Mine – hands down – is my dad’s Chicken Tortellini Soup.
If ever, I am asked what to serve for lunch, for dinner, when at home in
Connecticut – I beg for this soup.
I am an event planner, so by design had to try to have winter babies,
during the “slow season”. When both of my darling babes were born, years
ago, my parents flew to Chicago (let’s be honest – they flew in before they
were born – sitting absolutely all night long in the Northwestern Hospital
waiting room – and right beside my precious grandparents!) and Dad cooked
non-stop, to fill our ‘frigo with stockpots of my fave soup.
Every single friend, family, or neighbor that came to visit, to meet the
new tiny babies (oh, let’s overshare again, they were both almost 10
pounds, 22″ long) was served a piping hot bowl of Ron’s soup.
Ahhh…the fond memories.
Now, when he cooks for me, my little, eleven year old Lilly is right by his
side, chopping, dicing, stirring…
Life is so beautiful.
Whip up a pot today – and please, do share. Your friends, family and
neighbors will thank you for it.
Dad’s famous Chicken Tortellini Soup
Prep time: 1 hour
A rustic, country soup that is an ideal comfort food. My process consists
of two steps: making the base the night before, then finishing the soup
just prior to serving, to best enhance the flavors of the soup. Serve with
a toasted, crusty, Parmesan dusted baguette, split in half lengthwise.
3 chicken breasts (skinless, boneless)
Olive Oil to season
Salt, Pepper, Herbs de Provence to season
3 strips bacon
1 hot sausage
1 sweet sausage
1 stalk celery
1/2 large yellow onion
3 (12 oz) cans chicken stock (Use home made chicken stock, if available.
If store bought, regular chicken stock adds more flavor than low sodium
3 garlic cloves
1 12 oz package dried tortellini (fresh may be substituted)
1 large bag pre-washed baby spinach
Parmesan Regiano cheese (chunk, not pre grated)
Make the base the night before:
Preheat grill to high heat.
Rinse and trim chicken, then slice in half (thickness) to form thinner
Season with olive oil, salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence (both sides).
Grill the chicken and sausages.
Make sure not to overcook, they will continue to cook once tented in foil,
and in soup.
Place chicken and sausage on separate plates and tent with foil to “finish
cooking”, as they cool.
The chicken will be very tender and flavorful, and provide additional
liquid “au jus” to be added to the soup. (Do not add sausage liquid to
Clean the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, dice.
In a heavy bottomed stock pot, add a little olive oil, over medium heat.
Cut the bacon into lardon pieces (1/2 “ lengths), sauté until crisp.
Remove bacon and reserve on a paper towel.
Remove half the fat from the pot with a paper towel and discard.
Add onion to deglaze the pot, allow it to soften, stir frequently to absorb
the bacon fat, brown bits and flavor.
Add carrots, celery and garlic (one component at a time, and stir in to
mix) and allow to soften (3-5 minutes).
Chop chicken breasts, and sausages to same size.
Add these ingredients to the vegetables in the stock pot, along with the
Add chicken stock and allow the soup base to simmer for 15 minutes.
I prefer to let the soup sit overnight, by cooling to room temperature and
refrigerate. You could now serve, if time doesn’t allow for next day.
When serving next day, remove from refrigerator, skim any excess fat off
the top, and allow to come to room temperature.
Heat slowly, to bring to a low boil.
When the soup is hot, add tortellini.
Pre-warm soup bowls in oven.
Prepare toasted baguette by slicing in half lengthwise, spread with butter,
grate parmesan ontop.
Place in oven, broil until brown. Remove, slice.
Wash baby spinach and spin dry. Add to soup when tortellini is al dente,
and stir in.
Ladle in warmed bowls, grate Parmesan cheese over hot soup and garnish edge
of the bowl with a grind of fresh black pepper.
Add a slice of toasted bread to side of bowl.
Serve. Taste. Savor.