Curried Chicken & Veggie Soup with Couscous

Back in college, I worked as a cook for a guy running shipwreck diving trips around Isle Royale. From him I learned some of the best meals are the ones where you “throw all the ingredients in a pot and let it cook awhile.” This recipe comes from A Good Day for Soup, by Jeannette Ferrary (Chronicle Books). You can adapt the vegetables and seasonings as it suits you. Does well as a vegetarian dish also (use veggie stock). All hail the lazy cooks!

Ingredients
4 tablespoons oil
2 onions – chopped
4 cloves garlic – minced
1 red bell pepper – seeded and diced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 carrots – sliced or chopped
1 small butternut squash – peeled, seeded and cut into cubes
1 parsnip – peeled and sliced
2 zucchini – sliced
1 cinnamon stick (about 1 to 2 inches long)
10 cups chicken stock (veggie if you don’t add meat)
2 pounds chicken meat – cut into bite-size pieces
salt and pepper
12 ounces couscous
1/4 cup fresh cilantro – chopped (for garnishing)

Directions
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, soup-sized pot.
Saute the onions, garlic and bell pepper until soft, about 5 minutes.
Stir in curry, cumin and turmeric, and cook another minute or so.
Add tomatoes and cook until bubbly.
Stir in the rest of the vegetables and cinnamon stick; cook a few more minutes.
Add stock and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for 15 minutes.
Add chicken and simmer another 8 minutes.
Remove cinnamon stick and taste the soup to see how much salt and pepper you want to add (if any).

Couscous
Bring 12 to 16 ounces of water to a boil in a pot. More water makes it more fluffy.
Put the couscous in the pot, put a lid on, and turn off the heat.
Let it sit about 5 minutes.

Place the cooked couscous into bowls and ladle the soup over it.
Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Other Information
Serves: 8
This is a good late summer/early autumn soup.

You can put 1 to 2 tablespoons of uncooked couscous in each bowl, and then pour the soup over it. By the time you get it to the table, it will be ready to eat. This is a great way to do leftovers.

Butternut Squash Soup

A wonderful soup for a cool fall day.

Ingredients
1 Butternut Squash – peeled, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons Butter
1 Onion – chopped
2 cloves Garlic – minced
3 Carrots – diced
3 cans Chicken Broth
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 teaspoon Thyme
Salt
Pepper
1 Potato – peeled and diced (optional)
2 stalks Celery – diced (optional)

Directions
In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. 
Stir in onions and garlic. 
Cook and stir until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. 
Stir in carrots and celery (optional). 
Cook and stir until tender, about 5 minutes. 
Stir in potatoes (optional), squash, chicken broth, honey and thyme.    
Bring mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. 

Can be served immediately for chunky soup or puréed for a more creamy soup. 
Season to taste.

Serves 6 people.