Monday, December 15, 2008

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

...or, Snow Day



We don't get much snow here in Portland. We're nestled so snugly between the Coast Range to the west and the Cascades to the east, and all that noise gets buffered out in our quaint little Willamette Valley. But once or twice a year, we get the veritable shit...er, snowstorm of Weather. And the city shuts the hell down.

Nobody goes to work or school on snow days. We all turn on the TV to check for road closures anyway, just to see some asshole on the news careening downhill, perpendicular to the road, taking out innocent parked cars in his wake (do yourself a favor and cue up Yakety Sax in another tab so you can watch the vid with a soundtrack). People always try to drive in this shit. People from sunnier climes (cough*Californians*cough) who think that driving up to Ski Bowl a few times a year qualifies as "driving in snow" experience. It's comedy gold, really, for everyone except the owners of those parked cars getting pwned on the side of the road. Here's to good insurance.

During inclement weather, I'm not so keen on leaving the house. I've been a bit slumpy anyway lately, and this doesn't really increase my motivation to leave my couch, let alone step foot outdoors. I don't feel like doing anything that doesn't involve a blanket and sweat pants, and am eating mostly total garbage like totchos (yes, that is nachos made with tater tots) and Blue Box with ketchup. I'm not pregnant, I think it's just the weather and the darkness. I spent 8 hours playing Chibi Robo yesterday, for fuck's sake. Ain't no cure for the wintertime blues.

Except maybe some hearty chicken soup with crunchy green beans, peas and carrots, chunks of creamy fingerling potatoes, cremini mushrooms and succulent chicken, and some tender gnocchi. The dumpling-like gnocchi sort of melt into the soup after awhile, making it nice and creamy-chowdery, and the broth is just shy of melted chicken demi glace, so rich and velvety, with plenty of fresh thyme and black pepper.

Serve with oven-warm rolls and Tivo'd episodes of How Clean is Your House.

43 comments:

maggie said...

yeah. my parent's neighborhood is a no-go zone, too many hills. And of course the closest bus is far...

a good day to stay inside and eat comfort food!

Syd said...

Never thought about using gnocchi in soup. Doh!

Enjoy your snow! We had some last week too.

dp said...

Luckily our lives revolve around about 10 blocks. Hubby's office is just 5 blocks, Sonny's school is 2 blocks and the nearest grocery store is 4 blocks. Thank goodness we don't need to drive. The city doesn't do a good job of clearing roads either, so people are foolish to go out with all this ice. It's supposed to snow on and off all week. Let's see how many days the city will be closed down.

Heather said...

mmmm i love the idea of gnocchi in the chicken soup. it sounds really tasty! i'm one of those people that loves snow - we never get it very much in VA. i love it when the whole world sucks down because i spend my days doing... exactly what you did! i'm partial to guitar hero, myself. but anyway, i ramble. the soup looks great!

Pam said...

I love snow days! too bad where I live that means more than 3 or 4 ft of snow.

I would LOVE to know the recipe for this soup! It looks so yummy!

Marc @ NoRecipes said...

That's the best chicken soup I've ever seen (and I'm not saying that just so I can leave a comment on your post). Nice job on turning such a pedestrian soup into something special!

Brittany said...

ooh! chicken and dumplings all sexified!! Seattle also got it's first snow on Saturday night. 'Sposed to stay like this all week and more to come on Wednesday. Thankfully I can walk to work, because I am one of those assholes who can't drive in the snow.
...We have always been a chili-cheese tater tot people, but totchos are something that I will need to get into my belly stat.

glamah16 said...

You just got a little seasonal disorder. I get that from time to time. That soup would be perfect on the bitter cold icy day here in Chi Town. Guess What, we are going to Vancouver in the spring. Would love to see your parts too. Like a long road trip . Have to see what the man says.

April in CT said...

That soup looks gorgeous and the bowl is purdy. I really wish I could just throw together ingredients and they turn out tasting fantastic, but if I don't follow a recipe I totally screw it all up. BUT! I'm thinking I can at least try this one and not screw it up terribly bad.

Olive Garden ain't got nothin' on you (they have a chicken gnocchi soup now, but it's a creamy base).

Heather said...

Mags - The hills are a danger zone! I'm on a flat street, and still scared to leave.

Syd - They're just little dumplings. Although they're no sub for real chicken and dumplings.

Darlene - We used to have it much easier when we lived over on Hawthorne, but now things are a little more spread out in SoPo. :P

Heather - But you have that lovely Spanish moss! I'll trade ya?

Pam - I guess people don't stay home over a few inches when you get that kind of dumpage. :\

Marc - I think next time I'll make bigger gnocchi. I really like a big, chewy dumpling in my chicken goodness.

Brittany - I know! I hope the streets get cleared a bit, because I can't just stay home all week. I'll go insane. Maybe I'll walk the couple miles to work.

Courtney - Well, I usually try to keep my parts covered up, but I might let you see them. ;)

April - This is a really easy soup. Olive Garden totally stole this idea from me, btw. ;)

Lo said...

Totally a good time to stay in and be comfortable... sorry it's contributing to your slump!

Care for some below-zero weather with a wind chill in trade??!!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

That is a beautiful bowl of comfort, Heather! I agree, I am all about staying indoors on snow days...although I guess I won't have too many oppurtunities now!

cookiecrumb said...

Snarkin' on the Californians, eh? I fling a Blue Box disguised as a shoe in your general direction.

(English canned beans on toast for supper. I love succumbing to the malaise.)

(Captcha: unityll)

Heather said...

Lo - I know the folks in the Midwest are just rolling their eyes at my weather whining. :P

Jenn - I do like the seasons, but I am totally jonesing to walk on a sunny beach without getting frost bite. :)

Cookie - I only snark on the Californians that move to Portland. Beans on toast, eh?

Ken Albala said...

Hey, I take umbrage at your California crack too. Though I learned to drive in New Jersey snow, down a precipitous hill. What I wouldn't give for a spot of snow! I think last time it fell here in Stockton was in the 30s. I haven't seen in fall in maybe a decade.

The whole point, you are of course right, is to hunker down with Some Serious Soup, and with the exception of a few days a year, it's never cold enough. Is my jealousy showing??

peter said...

I'm pretty sick of all you West-coasters complaining about "winter" as you continue to call it. When I was your age, I walked ten miles to school every day, uphill both ways, in weather much worse than that.

Although I suppose now that you're pregnant, you really should be taking it easy. (Talk about comedy GOLD.) I trust you have bunny slippers, right?

Peter M said...

Despite living in Canada, one has to be careful of the 'tards who get into accidents on the 1st snowfall as they seem to forget how to drive in the snow.

The soup looks good...and the starches in the Guh-nooch would surely thicken'er.

Peter G said...

Thank god we don't get those kind of conditions here...you've done wonders again with an ordinary chicken soup by turning it into the extraordinary Heather.

crabadeeba said...

Knocky soup. Good thinkin'. Sounds very tasty. It was 70 degrees today in NYC, but hell's gonna break loose tomorrow with a nasty mix of rain and snow. Ugh. PLUS I gotta travel with my boss early tomorrow a.m. so I'm ornery 'cause I can't have that extra martini tonight. Grrrrrrr...

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

I remember snow days when I was little. Seems like a lifetime ago. Now, we have hurricane days. Sheesh!

It hasn't snowed in Florida since 1988. I still remember how exciting it was!

I'm really loving the idea of the gnocchi in that soup. It sounds like it would be a little like chicken and dumplings. Perfect for a snowy day.

Manggy said...

Oh fuck! That's hard to watch. It's like an accident in slow motion, except not really. The guy shouting "Help! Help!" makes it doubly painful.
I don't know anyone who has a Gamecube :P This country totally passed on that one. PS2 was king for a loooong while (still is probably, with so many junk XBox 360s).
Yeesh, you don't need to be pregnant to enjoy nacho-fied tater tots! And definitely not to love you soup (that's short of demiglace? yum!)!
I have episodes of The Soup, Chuck, and Heroes waiting for me :)

Emily said...

Looks delicious! And the snow is so pretty.

Núria said...

Hola Guapa! No snow here so far... but it's sooooo cold this year! Mountains near by are white and temperatures are really low for what we are used to... so, your soup is so welcome, I love soups, sofas, lazyness and heat during winter :D

Bellini Valli said...

We are in a deep freeze here..a whole week of minus temperatures.We even have snow which is usually for the mountains surrounding us here in the Okanagan. Since I am hunkering down in the kitchen this soup looks amazing Heather!!!

Brittany said...

It snows here in Ohio all the time, something horrific called lake effect, so this looks perfect. Except, like you, I refuse toleave the house in such conditions, which translates to being homebound for 3-4 months, so I will have to assemble a list, give it to my hubby and hope for the best:)

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I find it funny that every time a big snowstorm is announced around here, everyone flocks to the supermarket and buys up every loaf of bread and bottle of milk in the store. Hello. We have snowplows! The roads are pretty passable even just a day after the worst blizzards.

That's a great jumble of ingredients in your soup. Very creative.

Anonymous said...

That soup looks fabulous. Would you post the full recipe? I'm not very good at estimating quantities and cooking times and I sooo want to make it like you did!

Heather said...

Ken - The grass is always greener, I guess. ;)

Jube - They're actually Super Mario Bros. 1-Up Mushroom slippers, if you must ask.

Peter the Greek - Despite living in Canada, or because of living in Canada? :D Man, I'm fucking hilarious.

Petah - The southern hemisphere is sounding pretty nice right about now.

Abdominator - At least it isn't a forceshield on the road. Hanging out with the boss is teh suck.

Susan - Hurricane days sound exciting and sexy to me. Snow days just make me think of Dan Akroyd and William H. Macy. Not so sexy.

Mark - Well, if you knew that no one got hurt (they didn't), would you be able to laugh your ass off? People were mostly yelling at that guy to quit trying to drive, since he was fucking up everyone's cars.

Emily - I wish it would be thick and fluffy instead of hard and slippy.

Núria - This is really cold for us, too. It's too early for this weather!

Valli - We've been dipping below freezing too, really strange for mid-December in Portland. It was in the 60s last week, for chrissakes!

Brittany - Lake effect? Lake effect? That sounds like something involving reptilian comet survivors and vestigial limbs.

Rachel - Portland just doesn't have its shit together in that department. Sure, you can recycle anything, and ride a bus for 50 miles, but we have no snow-related infrastructure. We dump useless sand and gravel on everything.

Heather said...

Anon - The recipe is basically just a bunch of stuff from the kitchen:

Cube two chicken breasts and two thighs and brown them in a large soup pot over med-high heat with about a cup of chopped onion and 2 or 3 peeled, sliced carrot (I used chicken fat for this, but olive oil is fine). Add 4 cups of good chicken stock (I had some in my freezer that was really thick) and add 2 or 3 small, diced potatoes and a couple sprigs of thyme. Bring to a steady simmer for 10 minutes, and then add chopped fresh green beans (about a cup), about a half cup of frozen peas and a handful of gnocchi. Soup is ready when gnocchi are tender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Heather - I'm definitely making this tonight.

Pam said...

Okay, I am so with you on the idiot drivers here... We have been holed up in our house all weekend too. I wish I would have had some totchos - they sound FANTASTIC.

This soup is amazing. Using gnocchi is brilliant - can't belive I've never thought of it. I may just make this soup tonight.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

Gnocchi = little dumplings of heavenly plumpness. I never thought to put them in soup but I will now. The broth on your soup looks so rich! Please freeze and send to L.A. thank you.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

rofl about the car thing. And on the note of yakety sax, that's my ring tone. I'm not one for ring tones, but any phone call instantly makes my day funnier...and apparently, given how people around me react, I'm the only one who thinks so. Simple pleasures, lol! :o

As for the soup...why have I never had gnocchi in soup before? I need to try this!

Nate-n-Annie said...

Too funny.

I like the looks of the soup. I think some asparagus would go nicely in it.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

We had a similar soup last night, for similar reasons. I used egg noodles, though, cause that's what I was in the mood for. Gnocchi sound good, too.

Alex Rushmer said...

Looks like the most warming and delicious soup ever.

We Are Never Full said...

awesome - growing up in the northeastern part of the us, learning to drive in snow was a rite of passage. when i went to live w/ jonny for 3 months in london at the beginning of our relationship, they had something there that the media named, "THE BIG FREEZE!!!" and it seriously mobilized everyone. it snowed about 2 inches, people were falling as they walked, cars were all over teh place and they even shut down the friggin tube. WHAT!? it's underground!?

anyways, everyone needs to stop w/ this pregnancy thing... i'm feeling like shit too b/c i'm burnt from work, the weather sucks, i'm tired and i'm ready for vacation. a nice bowl of this soup would do nicely.

BY THE WAY:

heather, you won the mulled wine top 5 contest. please email us your address asap so we can get these out to you!!

Sophie said...

Yum, I love how hearty that soup looks! I like thick soups like this, I always leave the broth behind unless the broth is thick like this :D.

SOUP OF THE DAY said...

Wow - Looks unbelievable!

Very deserving of that gorgeous spoon.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

Oh god, you got the snow too. I'm sitting here in the office FREEZING my toes off. Shivering now.

Chicken soup, chicken soup, chicken soup. . .my brain is also shutting down from the cold. . .I want that now. . .

The Spiteful Chef said...

I'm so jealous of your snow. I am a badass at snow-driving, btw, having learned to drive in Colorado in March.

I have never made a decent gnocchi. I think I'm retarded or something...

lucysmom said...

Just wondering how to get the recipe for this soup.

TaliRoxMahSox said...

a recipe please, this looks so yummy!