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Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Chicken Minestrone with Spring Vegetables


Recipe updated May 2015

This is the fastest minestrone you’ll ever make from scratch. Why? Because fresh spring vegetables don’t need much time to cook up to their natural, tender goodness. Leeks, asparagus, snap peas, chard, baby spinach—all hail the freshness of the season, and all turn a typically cold-weather dish into a light, refreshing green dinner loaded with flavor and nutrition.

Leeks, Aspargus, and Snap Peas 
Rainbow Chard 
Baby Spinach
Okay, I cheated with the artichokes and beans. Both are canned, but at least organic. You could also use frozen artichoke hearts, but avoid the brined hearts that usually come in a jar. Those are fine for a cold salad, but not so much for cooking.

Artichoke Hearts
Great Northern Beans
Once the vegetable preparation is done, the soup is ready in about 15 minutes.

For another light, warm-weather minestrone, check out Summer Vegetable Minestrone.

Serves 6

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
  • 1 cup canned organic quartered artichoke hearts, halved lengthwise
  • 8 oz asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch pieces (thick ends removed)
  • 4 oz snap peas, halved crosswise
  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 lb cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 1 small bunch rainbow chard, chopped (stems and thick ribs removed)
  • 2 cups baby spinach (long stems removed)
  • 1 cup canned great northern or cannelloni beans, rinsed
  • 2/3 cup dry macaroni
Preparation
  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the leek and sauté 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the artichoke hearts, asparagus, and snap peas. Add the chicken broth and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook 3 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer again. Add the cooked chicken, chard, spinach, cooked beans, and macaroni, and simmer until the pasta is tender, 7-8 minutes.
Leek Beginning to Cook 
Asparagus, Peas, and Artichokes Added 
Remaining Ingredients Added 
Simmered Broth
Divide the minestrone among 5-6 shallow bowls and serve hot.

Chicken Minestrone with Spring Vegetables


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