I know, I know…two soup posts in a row. “What is she thinking” you are probably asking yourself. The weather has been on the chilly side here and I was still thinking soup when we finished up the delicious pot of Meatball and Tortellini Minestrone that I made earlier in the week. This soup is so different than the hearty minestrone, very rich and silky in texture with the most wonderful chicken flavor you can imagine. It is perfect for an everyday casual meal and for a formal occasion when you want to serve your best menu.
The Pantry’s Chicken Bisque
- 2 pounds chicken, bone in and skin on
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1 small jar chopped pimento
- Homemade croutons
Place chicken in large pot and cover with water, about 10 cups. If you are starting with a whole chicken cut it into large pieces. Add vegetables and simmer until chicken almost falls off the bone. Strain off enough liquid to make 8 cups of stock. Cut cooled chicken into bite sized pieces and be sure to pick all the little chicken bits off the bones. Set chicken aside.
Make a roux by melting 1 cups butter and whisking in 1 cup flour. Mix well and stir on medium heat for 2 minutes until thick and slightly cooked. Use the best butter you can find because this is the main flavoring of the dish.
Bring the stock to a very low boil and slowly add the roux, stirring constantly. Thicken to your taste, turn heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the chopped chicken and 1 small jar of diced pimento. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 15 minutes. Serve in warmed soup bowls.
Garnish each serving with homemade croutons and chopped parsley. Don’t leave this step out because the croutons add texture to this silky smooth bisque. Homemade ones are the best. Just cut up leftover cubes of whatever white bread you have (my favorite is a crusty baguette), toss them with a little olive oil, onion salt and pepper and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Cooks Note: The bones and skin add so much flavor to the stock for this soup. You just won’t get the same results if you use boneless, skinless chicken pieces. I had a half of a Costco chicken left over from a previous meal and used that for the stock and chicken pieces for the soup. When a recipe is this simple every ingredient must contribute a lot of flavor.
The Pantry was a much loved Portland Restaurant in the 1950’s to the ’80’s. My grandparents and my parents took family there for many special occasions. It’s long gone but the memories are still vivid and this soup brings back thoughts of wonderful family gatherings.