January 7, 2012

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Brie, Spinach & Artichokes {Crazy Cooking Challenge}


It's Crazy Cooking Challenge time! The challenge presented for January by our hostess, Tina of Mom's Crazy Cooking, was  CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP.  The rules?  Our soups must include chicken, our soups must include noodles, and we must have found the recipe out there somewhere in blogland.  That was it ... anything else goes.  And you probably know me by now ... I had to find something that was, well, just a bit different.  I love, love, love to try recipes that have a crazy-sounding flavor combination or just a little something in them you wouldn't ordinarily expect.

Enter ...Elizabeth of Pine Cone and Acorns' Chicken Artichoke Brie Soup.    Ah hah!  I had found my 'little something different.'  Brie in chicken soup?  Oh, I was all over trying that.  And let me just say, I'm sooooooo  glad I did.  This soup is so richly creamy and flavorful, and beautiful, too, with the deep dark green of spinach running all through it.  Yum.

Another great thing with this recipe - it's pretty 'flexible' ... I think you could easily make changes to the ingredients to suit your personal taste and it still be just as wonderful as the original.  Here are the changes I made:
- Added noodles ... mini farfalle (bowties), to be exact.  Hey, The Challenge did require me to use noodles, right?
- Increased the amount of spinach
- Substituted whole milk for the half-&-half and whipping cream (I just couldn't bring myself to use three different kinds of milk in this one single soup!)
- Left a little bit of the rind on my brie, instead of cutting it all completely off.  It broke my heart to cut all the wonderful brie-y-ness off.
- Added a little extra seasoning of salt at the end of the cooking process
- Oh, and I changed the name.  Like Elizabeth suggested, I wanted a name that encompassed all the yummy ingredients in this soup!

So ... let's see how to whip up this totally delicious, creamy dreaminess of a chicken noodle soup. 

Just as so many totally tasty soups begin, start by cooking up some onion, celery, carrots, and garlic in a bit of butter.  Just soften them up a little bit and let them get to know each another.
Oh .... this is how sooooooo many wonderfully tasty soups begin!
Add in some chicken broth ... simmer ... then add in some small pasta ... and simmer again.  I chose to use this mini farfalle, also called bowties.  I loved the itty-bitty size of the mini farfalle.  Isn't it cute?
Mini farfalle - it's so cute!
Next, add in some flour that you've shaken up in a jar with some whole milk.  This starts the 'creamy' part of this creamy dreaminess.  Pour it on in ...
Bring on the creamy!
... and simmer it up for a bit.  Now you're ready to add in the green veggies - artichokes and spinach.

"I'm ready for my dip in the hot tub!"
Stir the veggies in and behold your beautiful soup!  Isn't it just gorgeous with all that deep dark spinachy green in it?  I think so!  Is it weird that I think food can be gorgeous?  I hope not, 'cause I sure do think foods can be stunningly beautiful.
Beautiful soup
Oh, and don't forget the Brie!  Stir this in at the end and get it all melty and creamy.
So-soft-and-squishy Brie
Now, let's talk about the Brie for a minute.  Two things.

Thing 1 - Does the Brie add a flavor element?
In Elizabeth of Pine Cone and Acorns' post, she pondered about whether the Brie added flavor to this soup, or if it simply made it nice and creamy.  Well, I had to explore that question further to find out.  Ya know, that's just what I like to do ... I'm always full of "I wonders."  So, I scooped out some of the soup before I melted in the Brie and later put it to a head-to-head comparison with the Brie'd version.

The verdict??  Brie does add a flavor factor, though it's indeed very mild.  Without doing a side-by-side, head-to-head taste test, I think it would be difficult to discern the Brie flavor element.  But the Brie flavor is indeed there.  The Brie absolutely adds quite a bit of a creaminess factor.  While the non-Brie version is certainly still creamy, the Brie puts this soup over the top in terms of creamy dreaminess.  That being said, if you're not a fan of Brie or just don't feel like running to the store to get some Brie, rest assured that this soup is totally wonderful and flavorful even without it.

Thing 2 - To rind or not to rind? -  that is the question!
The original recipe instructs us to remove the rind from the Brie.  Well, as I mentioned earlier in this post, cutting off all that Brie-y-ness in the rind just broke my heart.  So, I cut off some but also left some on.  I think the answer to this question is a matter of personal preference.  The rind that I left on melted into the soup just like the creamy inside, so there weren't any big ol' rind lumps.  I do think the rind gave fabulous flavor to the soup.  Next time I make this soup, I will simply shave off just a tiny bit of the rind and leave most of it intact.  Personally, I love the flavor of Brie rind.  But, if you don't, cut it off.

Serve this flavorful soup up with a salad and some biscuits or crusty bread, and you've got yourself one tasty and hearty meal.  Enjoy!




Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup with Brie, Spinach & Artichokes
Source:  Adapted from Pine Cone and Acorns Chicken Artichoke Brie Soup
Ingredients
3 T. butter
1 c. chopped carrots (about 2 carrots)
1 c. chopped celery (about 2 stalks)
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14.5 oz.) cans chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground white or black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
2 c. whole milk
1/4 c. all purpose flour
1 c. small pasta (I used mini farfalle - a.k.a. mini 'bowties')
2 c. cooked chopped chicken (I used the white meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken)
Additional 1 c. whole milk
1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
1 (9 oz.) package frozen artichoke hearts
4 1/2 oz. Brie or Camembert cheese, some or all of the rind removed, and cut into chunks


Directions
1.  In a large saucepan, melt butter.  Add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic; cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes. 

2.  Add chicken broth, salt, and pepper.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

3.  Increase heat to return broth mixture to a slow boil.  Add pasta; reduce heat to medium and simmer until pasta is al dente, about 5-7 minutes.

4.  Combine 2 cups whole milk and flour in a large screw-top jar.  Cover and shake well until smooth.  Stir into soup.  Increase heat back to medium-high; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, about 8 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium.

5.  Stir in chicken, additional 1 cup whole milk, artichokes, spinach, and Brie.  Cook and stir over medium heat about 5 minutes more until the soup is heated through and the Brie is melted.  Be careful not to let the soup scorch.

6.  Give the soup a taste, and add salt as needed.  I found that an additional 1/2 teaspoon or so of salt added at the end of the cooking time really brightened up the flavors in this hearty soup.



Random thoughts:
- This soup is flavorful and delicious both with and without the Brie.
- Including the Brie's rind or cutting it off is a matter of personal flavor preference.
- I think this soup would be equally good with or without the artichokes.  So, if you're not an artichoke fan, simply leave them out.
- You could make this with turkey, too.  Great to use up leftovers from a big ol' turkey!
- Make sure to taste the soup at the end of it's cooking and add some salt, if needed.  I found that a little sprinkling of salt at the end really brightened up the flavors.



Have fun checking out the other Crazy Cooking Challenge participants through the links below. Looks like there are some fabulous chicken noodle soup variations. Hmmm ... which shall I give a whirl first??
Photobucket

This post is linked with Think Pink Sundays hosted by Flamingo Toes, Sundae Scoop hosted by I {heart} Naptime, Mangia Mondays hosted by Shine Your Light, Savvy HomeMade Monday hosted by Home Savvy A to Z, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show hosted by Chef in Training, Totally Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Mandy's Recipe Box, These Chicks Cooked hosted by This Chick Cooks, Cast Party Wednesday hosted by Lady Behind the Curtain, It's a Keeper Thursday hosted by It's a Keeper, Creative Juice Thursday hosted by Momnivore's Dilemma, Share Your Creations hosted by Kristen's Creations, Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum, Inspiration Friday hosted by At the Picket Fence.



30 comments:

  1. Oh, my! Yes, that is different. I bet it tasted amazing. The Brie is a great addition, but the artichoke hearts are what really got me salivating. Thanks for sharing. :)

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  2. What did we ever do before rotisserie chickens? Love, love, love the addition of brie in this recipe - wow, I'm pinning it for sure!

    Happy CCC
    :)
    ButterYum

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  3. Wow, this one is over the top, and I love Brie! I'll have to try this one for sure!

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  4. This looks awesome. I am glad to hear the brie adds mild flavor. I might be able to sneak it by my husband then:) Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Brie, spinach and artichokes - yes please!

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  6. Oh yum, I'll definitely be trying this one!

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  7. Beutiful Chicken Soup pictures! I also thought you did a nice job adjusting the recipe and sharing how and why you did so.

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  8. Tracey this looks so good, put a crust on top and call it chicken pie. Love the sound of all the ingredients. Nice choice
    ps. I sent a email to kaf and they replied giving permission to post the kaf on my blog. Thanks for the notice. Going to Vermont in Feb for a long weekend and go visit kaf
    #12 Andi thewednesdaybaker.blogspot.com

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  9. This looks AMAZING! I'm bookmarking this; thanks so much for sharing!

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  10. Oh, this sounds awesome! I love spinach, and I never would have thought to put Brie in soup. Neat idea!

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  11. What a unique chicken noodle soup recipe! Sounds incredible! Stopping by from the challenge (#46).

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  12. I love this and I love your pictures! What a creative recipe! Glad to be a new follower from CCC!

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  13. I love the brie rind also. I think I would leave it on. What a wonderfully, unique recipe. I will definitely be trying this one! Thanks!

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  14. I just pinned this....I think it sounds wonderful!
    #49

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  15. OMG! This looks so good it could be dangerous!

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  16. I stopped by to share some chicken noodle soup love(mine's #57: the herbalicious one) ... Oh what a creamy dreamy soup you found! I love the flavor combination here! Pinning it! :)

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  17. Yum! I think this would be really good. I think maybe even throwing in some artichokes to give it that "Spinach Artichoke" feel would be good, too.

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  18. I have to try this with brie - it sounds great :)

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  19. WOW - WOW - WOW - this is a winner in my book! Brie and Artichokes I LOVE! I MUST TRY! PINNING NOW!

    I made Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup! #1 in the linky party, come by and visit if you get the chance!

    Thanks again for participating in my challenge!

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  20. Okay I just read this recipe all the way through and took notes. Brie rind- check. Lots of spinach - check. Whole milk instead of 3 different kinds - check. You had me at brie....oh how I love it. Yum, and I'm so in a soup making mood these cold days - thanks for sharing Tracy!!!

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  21. I think it does look beautiful! The colors seem to show off the flavors!
    i am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can!

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  22. Hello, I am so happy that you made the soup and liked it. I enjoyed it myself, and think it is such a unique recipe. Thank you for sharing a link back to my post, I appreciate it. I wish you a happy New Year!

    Elizabeth

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  23. What a surprising soup! It looks delicious!

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  24. This looks just terrific! How creative and delicious. Come visit us. We have a terrific crockpot recipe this week.

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  25. Oh, yummy, and so upscale! And, yes, the farfalle is adorable -- almost too cute to eat (but, I will). I'm #52 in the challenge and this was a great one. Love chicken soups and now have a fistful of recipes for 2012. Come visit when you can.

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  26. Great that you linked in, thanks.

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I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience!}

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