Chicken Minestrone

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon olive oil [I used EVOO]
2 chicken thighs [I used chicken winglets, the two biggest parts, not the skinny part.  About two pounds]
3 bacon slices, chopped [I used the super thick slices]
1 onion, minced
a few fresh basil leaves, shredded [I used dried basil, still worked just fine]
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley [I used the fresh stuff and it was so good]
2 potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes [I used the mini potatoes of various different colors]
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2-inch cubes [I used mini already skinned carrots]
2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes [I used one large zucchini instead]
1 or 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch cubes [I used two stalks and sliced them thin]
1 quart chicken stock [I used bouillon cubes, 1 cube plus 1 cup of water = 1 cup of stock]
1 3/4 cups frozen peas [I used a 14 ounce can it was plenty]
scant 1 cup stellette or other small soup pasta [I used Ditalini from Barilla]
salt and pepper [I never used any]
Parmesan cheese shavings, to serve [I used finely shredded parmesan cheese]

1.  Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the chicken thighs and fry for about 5 minutes on each side; remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.  [I used a cast iron pan.  I used it to cook each part of the recipe and then dumped it into the soup pot.]

2.  Add the bacon, onion, and herbs to the pan and cook slowly, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes, carrot, zucchini, and celery and cook for 5 to 7 minutes longer.  [I again used the cast iron pan.  I think it adds something to the ingredients and the soup.]

3.  Return the chicken thighs to the pan.  Add the stock and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over low heat for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring the soup occasionally.  [Due to the fact I am still working on figuring out this gas stove ‘simmer’ or ‘low heat’ is hard so I cooked a little too much of the broth out… however, see notes]

4.  Remove the chicken thighs with a slotted spoon and place them on a board.  Stir the peas and pasta into the soup and return to boil.  Simmer, stirring frequently for 7 to 8 minutes or according to the directions on the package, until the pasta is just al dente.

5.  Meanwhile, remove and discard the chicken skin.  Remove the meat from the chicken bones and cut it into 1/2-inch pieces. [using the winglets pieces the way that I did means there is no cutting in this stage]

6.  Return the mea to the soup, stir well and heat through.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

7.  Serve hot in warm soup bowls, topped with Parmesan shavings. [I used finely shredded parmesan cheese, just a regular store brand and it was wonderful.]

**Notes**
Due to my ineptitude with my gas stove still I am still boiling things a little longer then I should be however this soup as more of a stew is AMAZING.  In the pictures in the book it looks very brothy but due to my mistake with the heat it came out to be a very filling stew.  I received rave reviews of it and will make it the same way again.

Makes 8 measured cups

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