Day Seventy Nine: Chicken Soup a la Trader Joes

Not the greatest picture. But trust me--this soup is really tasty.

I made this last night for dinner and it's one of the few times NO ONE complained about dinner.
It's this chicken soup that doesn't really have any chicken in it--that is, until the end. Slices of chicken are added to the bowl at the end, along with a little arugula and some grape tomatoes.

It's more like a vegetable soup made with chicken stock. And it just so happens that all the ingredients are from my favorite grocery store Trader Joes. So let's hear it for Trader Joes! Woot!

Okay, I must confess: Trader Joes happens to be the closest grocery store to my house. And they also have a great beer selection. And I really like the people that work there. So geography + good beer + nice people = my favorite grocery store.

Did I mention the great beer selection?

2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 small to medium size yellow onion, quartered
one carrot, quartered
2 celery stalks, quartered
4 heads of garlic, slightly smashed
1 32-oz container of chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup dry small pasta (ditalini or similar size)

1 large chicken breast, pounded to a consistent 1/4 to 1/2 inch thickness)
salt, pepper, dried oregano, panko bread crumbs

2 cups arugula lettuce, chopped
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
grape tomatoes (optional)

In a medium sized soup pot, heat up oil and add ground ginger, salt, and pepper under a low to medium flame. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, and garlic, and saute for another 5 minutes. Add chicken broth, water, and wine, and then cover pot with a lid. Once liquid starts to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Then with a slotted spoon, remove carrots, celery, onions, and garlic, and place in a food processor or blender. Puree and return to pot with another 1/4 cup of water. Once soup starts to simmer again, add dry pasta. Every few minutes, stir pasta around to thicken soup until pasta is cooked.

While pasta is cooking in the soup, add salt, pepper, oregano, and bread crumbs to both sides of the chicken breast. Pan fry chicken until cooked.

Arrange arugula on large serving plate. Place cooked chicken breast on top of arugula and slice thinly. Garnish with grape tomatoes if desired.

When serving the soup, ladle into bowls add gruyere cheese on top. Soup is to be eaten with the chicken and arugula added to the bowl.