Thursday, December 27, 2012

Chicken Gnocchi Soup - Olive Garden Copy

I ate at Olive Garden the other night and ordered the Chicken Gnocchi soup. It was beyond all my expectations!

Generally, after Thanksgiving, I make turkey noodle soup - this year, we weren't home for Thanksgiving, so my kids made me promise to make our traditional Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas and to make our traditional Christmas dinner for New Years - love that my kiddos are as flexible as I am:)

So, we had some left over turkey - and I wanted to eat it in a different way - food I have + food inspiration = pure awesomeness...

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

1 T extra virgin oil
4 T butter
4 T flour
1 qt half and half
1/2 c celery, finely diced
1 onion, diced
1 t minced garlic
24 oz chicken stock
1 c carrots, diced
Turkey or chicken breasts, cooked and diced (you can use a rotisserie chicken)
1 package gnocchi, cooked  (you can find these in gourmet/pasta section of the grocery store - you may want to cut the gnocchi in half if it is large, or purchase the mini size if available) or you can be a super fancy pants and make your own - easiest recipe HERE!! 
1 c of fresh spinach coarsely chopped
1/2 t salt
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t parsley
1/4 t nutmeg

Saute the onion, celery, and garlic over medium heat in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Add the flour and make a roux (your veg should be coated in a paste at this point. Let the butter and flour mixture cook for about a minute before adding 1 quart of half and half. I added 1/2 a quart and mixed it in well before adding the rest. It's better not to "shock" your components together - hot roux + cold (refrigerated half and half) - you do the math. Cook gnocchi according to package directions - or if you are a fancy pants, cook according to those directions.

Into the roux, add in the carrots and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick, add the chicken stock. Once the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasoning; simmer until soup is heated through.  Before serving season to taste by adding additional salt.

*For Christmas dinner, I made Alton Brown's Super-Tasty, No-Fuss, Time-Tested, Totaly Foolproof Bird as that recipe calls for Thyme (an herb/aromatic that pairs beautifully with poultry), I wanted to make sure to add that into the soup - thyme adds another flavor level to the soup. I have no idea if Olive Garden uses thyme in their soup.  

My nearly 10 year old pickiest eater on the planet took one bite and said "I just got a one way ticket to FLAVORTOWN - and I'm lovin' it!" Super delicious, super hearty, great way to use extra turkey or chicken.

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