First I cooked the base for chicken soup night before last – putting a whole fryer in a stew pot with a chopped onion and 3 bay leaves, salt and pepper and let simmer for 1.5 hours until the chicken was thoroughly cooked and just shy of falling off the bone. I removed the chicken from the broth and let it cool. After it cooled, I pulled all the meat off the bone, putting the dark meat back in the soup broth and reserving the white meat for salads and sandwiches. I used some of the meat for sandwiches for a couple meals, but today I am going to finish the soup.
I skimmed off the fat that had cooled on the top. Some people think you lose too much flavor when you do this, but I think that flavor can be boosted with bouillon or broth if the soup lacks flavor. This soup, however, had plenty of flavor and I didn’t need to add anything. I started heating the pot on medium. While it heated, I chopped up 1 carrot and 1 celery (Technically I chopped two celery, but these are the thinnest, scrawniest celery I have ever seen and it takes two to make as much as 1 regular celery.) I also sliced up 6 mushrooms. I tossed them all in the pot along with two 8 oz. cans of diced, stewed tomatoes seasoned with basic, garlic and oregano. I added salt and pepper and let cook. When the carrots were fork tender, I added 12 oz. pkg of Barilla Three Cheese Tortellini and cooked for 10 more minutes.
The soup has a heart chicken flavored with a bit of zest from the tomatoes, balanced by the celery. The mushrooms add a deep, earthy note and the carrots add some sweetness. This makes about 12 servings, but I prefer making chicken from scratch, not from mixes, so it’s impossible to make a “single” serving.