Chicken, Leek, and Tomato Soup

Years ago when I was living by myself in my studio apartment on Lake Shore Drive (my Mary Tyler Moore Days!), my aunt gave me a little cookbook called “Quick Short Chicken Recipes.” It’s been a lot of fun going through the cookbook every once in a while and rediscovering recipes, as my palate expands and my knowledge of different cooking techniques improves. Each time I look through it, I find a new recipe that I wouldn’t have considered making before, either because it used butter (gasp!), cream, peppers, asparagus, etc. This recipe is actually one I’ve made for a few years now, and it is delicious. It sounds pretty simple, and it is, but it’s just a great tasting soup that both Bob and I love, and it’s pretty healthy, with a few modifications!

The original recipe serves 4. I’ve also typed out the version I usually make for just Bob and I, which is the same amount of broth but less chicken, leeks, and butter. It makes enough for us to have the soup as a dinner, and sometimes a lunch-sized leftover depending on how hungry we are.
Chicken, Leek, and Tomato Soup
Serves 4
2 1/2 ounces butter
3 leeks, thinly sliced
3 chicken breasts
3 cups chicken stock
2 cloves garlic, crushed
15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon soft brown sugar
1 Tablespoon chopped basil leaves
extra chopped basil, to garnish
My version:
1 Tablespoon butter
2 leeks, thinly sliced
1 chicken breast
3 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, grated
15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon soft brown sugar
1 Tablespoon chopped basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
extra chopped basil, to garnish
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leek and cook for 2 minutes without browning.
2. Thinly slice raw chicken breasts. Increase heat and add the chicken to the saucepan. Cook for 3 minutes or until the chicken is browned.
3. Add the stock/broth, garlic, tomatoes, sugar, and basil. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Season and garnish with extra fresh basil. Serve with crusty bread.*
Source: Adapted from the Quick Short Chicken Recipes cookbook
*This time I modified the recipe for Tomato Bread instead. I took 2 slices of French bread and drizzled them lightly with extra virgin olive oil. I then used a silicone brush to spread the oil over the bread. I broiled the bread until brown, meanwhile removing the skin from a clove of garlic and slicing the clove in half. When the bread was toasted, I removed it from the oven and rubbed the garlic over each piece. I then placed the bread on the soup and grated Parmesan cheese on top. You could also make homemade croutons like this (sprinkle the bread with garlic powder or salt before broiling), which would be a nice addition to the soup. Another idea is to add Asiago cheese to the bread or croutons before broiling. My favorite soup at Panera (creamy tomato) comes with Asiago croutons!

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