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Who doesn’t love Julia Child? She taught me how to cook. Well, not personally, but through television and her wonderful videos she taught me how to bone a chicken, filet a fish, make baguettes, and to love Boeuf Bourgeon. To love all things French from croissants, to pastries, French Country soup like this French Country Chicken Soup, and to really be fearless in the kitchen. Nothing was too intimidating for her, and as her student, neither was it for me.
French Country Chicken Soup
Anything Julia tackled, I tackled wholeheartedly. Along the way, she taught me the most important lesson of all. To respect food and especially to respect fresh food. Food from the source.
As she lived in Paris, she recalled going daily to the French markets, to buy their wonderfully fresh fruits and vegetables and fish and so much more. As an American, she could barely speak French, but she found a home at the market and began to make friends with the vendors, who helped teach her French. Although she ended up with a degree from Le Cordon Bleu, it was the friends that she met at the markets that taught her even more about cooking.
To understand that French cooking…and really any type of cooking…doesn’t have to be fussy or difficult. In fact, she said, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” She demonstrated this by showcasing recipes that had passed from generation to generation. The delicious hardiness of the cuisine. The soups, the stews, the breads, the simple desserts, often with fresh fruit.
I met her once. I heard that she was coming to town for a book signing. I have never stood in line for anyone for book signings before, but it was Julia and I had to go. I arrived two hours early and actually was the second one in line. And then another person came and then another. It was not unlike Julia’s Market experience. People were gathered there for the love of food and the love of Julia, and everyone joined in the conversation as we waited.
Finally they opened the doors, and there she was with stacks of books in front of her. I said, “You taught me how to cook.” She didn’t know how to respond and simply said , “Thank you”. I smiled and replied, “No, thank you!” And I meant it.
So now being Autumn, with the chill in the air, soup seems to be a perfect evening dinner. It’s like a warm hug. So as I came up with this soup, made in the French Country way, I thought about Julia and hoped she would have approved this recipe.
Health note: The carrot, rich in carotenoids, was the star of six epidemiological studies that looked at the association of carotenoids and cancer. The findings reported that carotenoids not only reduced cancer, but heart disease as well. In one study of 1300 elderly persons in Massachusetts, those who had at least one serving of carrots (and/or squash) each day had a 60% reduction in their risk of heart attacks compared to those who ate less than one serving a day.
I highly recommend Manischewitz Low Sodium Chicken Broth for this recipe. There’s such a simmered-all-day flavor in the convenience of this quality packaged broth.
French Country Chicken Soup is classic. This amazing recipe with a hint of smoky bacon is rustic, warm and welcoming on those cool Autumn days.
- 2 slices smoky bacon
- 2 chicken thighs
- 2 medium shallots
- 1 1/2 cup carrots chopped
- 2 cloves garlic Minced
- 4 cups low sodium chicken broth Manischewitz preferred
- 1 large lemon juiced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 15.5 oz can Garbanzo beans
- 2 cups baby spinach chopped
- 1 tsp Parmesan cheese
Sauté bacon in a pan over medium heat until fat is rendered, about 3 minutes. Remove bacon and add the chicken thighs to pan. Sauté until lightly browned on both sides, about 4 minutes total.
Transfer chicken to a 6 at. Electric slow cooker set on low.
With pan still on medium heat add shallots, carrots and garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes, or until slightly browned, being careful not to burn the garlic.
With slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to slow cooker and pour in chicken broth, the juice of one large lemon, salt, pepper, thyme, and Garbanzo beans.
- Cook on low for 5 hours then stir in spinach and continue to cook for another 1/2 hour.
- Ladle into bowls and top each with a sprinkle of parsley and Parmesan cheese.