Sicilian Chicken Soup (Louise DeMont’s Recipe—Thanks, Mom
(1) Yellow Onion
(5) Celery Stalks
(1) Small Can Tomato Paste
(2) Chicken Breasts (Either Boned & Skinless or With Ribs Attached)
1-2 Cubes of Chicken Bouillon OR (2) 1-Quart Containers of Chicken Stock
Salt & Pepper
Box of small pasta (I prefer ditali, ditalini, orzo, or acine de pepe, but have used “salad macaroni” in a pinch.)
Optional: Parsley, Parmesan Cheese, Romano Cheese
Note: Carrots and Celery, as well as Chicken should be cut coarsely, with the thickest pieces about 3/4″ and chicken about 3/4″ cubed.
I prefer to prep all items (except the chicken breasts) mise en place due to my ADD.
COVER the bottom of a large soup pot in Olive Oil and heat.
SLICE the Onion, not too small or narrow, but about 3/4 – 1″ wide. Separate layers.
Add the Onion and heat to transparency and fragrance, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
When the Onion has been sufficiently cooked, add the cut-up Carrots, Celery, and Tomato Paste (1 heaping tablespoon), mixing them until the vegetables are all coated with Paste.
Add about an inch of water, dropping 1 bouillon cube into the liquid. If you’re using stock replace the water with 1 quart, but keep a bouillon cube handy just in case. You want to be able to taste chicken.
Add the Whole Chicken Breasts, making sure to coat them with the vegetable/paste mixture as much possible.
Salt & Pepper to Taste.
Cover and Sweat at a low-to-medium heat for 5-10 minutes, making sure the liquid does not boil off.
When your nose and your palate tell you that there’s something cool happening, add more water (or stock) to a comfortable level in the soup pot.
Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes.
By now, the chicken breasts should be cooked through, so remove them from the pot and let them cool (They’re gonna be hella hot.) Taste the liquid in the pot and adjust seasoning and add additional tomato paste, if desired.
When the chicken breasts have cooled, cut or tear them apart (by hand) and add them back into the mixture. Again, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer with the lid half-off.
Important: The broth should be a light orange color; if it isn’t, you’ve probably used too little paste.
This next part depends on your preference: You can either pre-cook the pasta in a separate sauce pan pot and add it to the soup on an as-needed basis. Or, you can cook the pasta in the soup, itself.
When the carrots and onions are nice and soft (or al dente, according your preference,) the soup is ready; however, you will still want to score one of the larger chunks of chicken to ensure that it’s thoroughly cooked.
Serve, with the option of topping with a bit of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese or a bit of fresh parsley.