Monday, September 11, 2017
In my garden I have zucchini. So. Much. Zucchini. My family is getting tired of eating it in its various easily-recognizable forms: as part of a veggie omelette, sauteed, various baked versions - the standards.
Also in my garden, I have more basil than I can use for making pesto, caprese salad, and in anything else made with tomatoes. I need to use it up before it goes to seed.
Suddenly today, with the remains of what was Hurricane Irma rolling into town, the weather turned chilly and rainy, while at the same time I also needed to make another batch of my chicken broth. Perfect timing all around for a soup.
These days, I'm eating ultra low-carb, a modified ketogenic diet, which also has high fat. This recipe qualifies. Don't ask for macros or counts; I don't keep that close track, yet still managed to drop 25 pounds and keep it off. (I still have that last stubborn 10 lbs to go, but I'll take the win!)
I also have to feed my family, including my hungry-man personal trainer hubby. He insists on A LOT of protein with our dinner meals, meaning meat.
I came across a half dozen or more recipes online for zucchini basil soup, but they are generally vegan, vegetarian, and/or low-fat, none of which would work for how my family currently is eating.
This is my take on the recipes I found. Keep in mind, making this low-fat and/or vegan would be easy - simply substitute vegetable broth and don't use chicken, or whipping cream and garnish with only chopped basil but no sour cream.
But we loved it just like this, which is why I'm writing about it here - so I don't forget and can make it again later!
Another reason I made this recipe: I had most of a rotisserie chicken in the fridge. As I said, I knew I needed to make another batch of broth, and my daughter wanted some, plus the grocery store had them on an amazing sale, so of course I picked one up. Any chance you get to pick up a grocery-store made rotisserie chicken, grab one because they are so easy to use in recipes. And after you pick the meat off the carcass, you can use that for your chicken broth. So good!
Finally, I tried something else new. I'd sung the praises of my Vitamix to my mother-in-law for about a year or so when she decided to take the plunge and get one, too. She also loves it and she uses her Vitamix to shred chicken for various recipes. I figured making soup would be as good a time as any to give shredding chicken in the Vitamix a try and I was rewarded with a result perfect for this soup!
Here it is! Give it a try and let me know if you enjoy it!
CHICKEN ZUCCHINI BASIL SOUP (Low Carb, Gluten Free)
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Vidalia or other sweet yellow onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2-3 pounds fresh zucchini, large diced
8 cups homemade chicken broth
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
fresh ground pepper
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 - 3/4 cooked rotisserie chicken, shredded in Vitamix (or chopped finely) (2 breasts, 1 thigh, 1 leg, etc.)
1/2 whipping cream
sour cream and extra basil for garnish
1. Heat olive oil in large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and lower temperature to medium; saute for 2-3 minutes more.
2. Stir in zucchini and broth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil and lower temperature. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. After 15 minutes, the zucchini should be translucent and easily smashed with a fork. Remove from heat and add basil. Use an immersion blender or add to blender to puree. If using a regular blender, puree in batches, and start slowly, using a towel to cover the lid to avoid exploding hot soup everywhere. (If you don't have an immersion blender, get this one. You'll wonder how you ever lived without it!). The basil will be visible as small flecks ... that's ok. It's perfect!
4. Stir in chicken and cream and return to medium heat. Stir and simmer about 5-7 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a chiffonade of basil on top. If your diet allows, you can also add a nice crusty bread to dunk in the soup. My kids loved it!