If you think this is not a thrilling post–“Chicken soup??”–you have never tried herbes de Provence. The French may be a pretentious, snooty, and cold people, but if they do nothing else besides create herbes de Provence and demonstrate to the world that six-week vacations ought to be mandatory, they deserve our love and respect.
Herbes de Provence are a magical mix of, obviously, herbs, chief among them thyme and lavender flowers. The proportions and spices will vary and can include savory, basil, fennel, sage, rosemary, and marjoram. My source, Whole Foods, offers a great combination in their bulk spice section–one of the few places you can actually get a bargain there.
Herbes de Provence are ideal for vegetables, fish, and chicken dishes. This soup allows their flavor to stand out, and the aroma alone makes it worth making on a cold day.
Chicken Soup with Herbes de Provence
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 – 2″ pieces (small enough for spooning)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium clove garlic, minced or grated (do not add more or it will overpower the herbs)
4 smallish/mediumish red potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces (3 – 4 cups)
2 cups peeled and sliced carrots
Chicken stock/broth to cover
1 – 2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. herbes de Provence
Salt and pepper to taste
In large soup pot, melt butter. Add onion and saute on medium-high heat until translucent. Peel and slice carrots and add to onions; saute about 5 – 10 minutes. While carrots are sauteeing, cut up potatoes, then chicken. Add garlic and stir. Add chicken to pot and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken begins to be cooked through. Add potatoes, herbes de Provence, and salt and pepper; stir to coat ingredients with spices. Add stock to cover. Cover pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20 minutes or so. Add cream to serving bowls if desired.