I can’t think of a more comforting, nourishing dish than this one, which is why I taught it at a recent webinar entitled “How To Gain Weight.”
Yes, you read that right — at a time when most folks are trying to shrink their bodies with all manner of diets and exercise regimens, surprisingly many people struggle with low body weight and are desperate to gain muscle and fat.
Weight gain can be just as hard as weight loss because many people who have lost weight as a result of illness, cancer (and its treatments), or injuries that have kept them bed-ridden for days or weeks tend to have small appetites and find it hard to eat large amounts of food. Some folks struggle with digesting and absorbing food and can’t eat much fat. Others, again, have digestive issues that make it hard for them to eat raw or high-fiber foods.
It is for all these folks — and anyone who loves creamy comfort foods — that I created this recipe. It contains high-quality protein from chicken & bone broth, nourishing (but low-fiber) vegetables, carbs for energy (potatoes, carrots, peas), and lots of delicious herbs with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. I wanted to recreate the flavors and textures of chicken pot pie, without the fussy puff pastry topping. That said, if you love puff pastry, simply make this soup but reduce the amount of broth and top it with pastry. Alternatively, keep it soupy and bake puff pastry shapes separately that you can serve alongside the soup.
This is the perfect dish for anyone coping with, or recovering from illness, in part because it requires next to no energy to make: all you do is dump the ingredinets in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker and cook them for 12 minutes, let them sit for another 10 minutes, add cream, shred chicken, and dinner’s ready.
Or, simpler still: if you’re sick and people ask you: “How can I help?”, send them this recipe and ask them to cook it for you.
Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 3 stalks celery diced
- 3 medium carrots diced
- 12 oz Yukon Gold potatoes scrubbed & cubed (if they are thin-skinned, no need to peel them)
- 8 oz mushrooms white or cremini; quartered
- 2 medium leeks sliced (to remove the grit that's often lodged in-between the leaves of this delicious vegetable, thinly slice the leeks and submerge the slices in a large bowl of cold water; let grit fall to the bottom of the bowl, remove leek slices with a slotted spoon)
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp fresh poultry seasoning (thyme, rosemary, sage) coarsely chopped
- ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup dry white wine or vermouth my favorite vermouth is Noilly Prat
- 2 cups chicken bone broth
- 2¼ lbs chicken thighs skinless, boneless
- 1 cup peas fresh or frozen
- ½ cup heavy cream if you don't tolerate dairy, you can use cashew cream (like this one)
- a dash of Asian fish sauce optional; I love Red Boat
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh herbs I like to use a combinaiton of parsley and chives
- Pile the first 13 ingredients (up to and excluding the peas) into your Instant Pot or pressure cooker and stir well to combine. (If cooking this in a regular pot on top of a stove, I recommend you saute the vegetables in 1 tbsp olive oil until soft before adding wine, broth and chicken.)
- Lock the lid and set the pot to cook at HIGH PRESSURE for 12 minutes. Once the cookign time is up, let sit for another 10 minutes, then release pressure (loosely cover pressure valve with a towel to avoid steam going all over you and your kitchen!).
- Once you have relased the pressure, remove the lid and transfer the chicken pieces to a plate with the help of kitchen tongs. SHred the meat with two forks and return to the pot, stirring it gently into the soup.
- Set the pot to SAUTE, NORMAL. Stir in the raw peas and cream. (If you want a slightly thicker soup, add 1 tbsp corn starch to the cream.) Bring back to a boil, stirring constantly.
- Season with salt or fish sauce, pepper, and lemon juice. Add parsley and chives. Serve.
- Keeps for 4-5 days in the fridge; suitable for freezing.