Before going plant based this was a family favourite with chicken…in fact it is Emily’s favourite meal. I have a bit of a twist on the traditional recipe though as I use paprika for flavour. Originally, this was a Chicken Brunswick Stew I found in a cookbook but I didn’t like this bit and added that bit and now it is not at all the original recipe though the inspiration came from there.
I have tried it with chickpeas but it was not as good though a reasonable substitute. It also turns out that Emily hates chickpeas so back to the drawing board. Most of the faux chicken pieces we came across seemed like they would just melt away in the soup and red lentils was a thumbs down from Emily as well. I had just about decided I would have to make a chicken soup for her and a chickpea soup for me. Then the other night she decided to make orange chicken and as I always loved that we got some faux chicken to attempt that recipe. That product was This isn’t Chicken and it looked like the real thing. It tasted almost like the real thing (my husband thinks it could trick his father who is a butcher). The big question was if it could stand up to being in a soup without falling apart. It can. I did put it in at the end to be safe but I suspect I could have added it earlier if I had wanted.
What you should have seen was my wild searching for my pasta. See I reorganised my kitchen and cleared off my worktops a bit. I had put my jar of pasta in a safe place. For the life of me I could not find my pasta. All I could use was two leftover noodle nests from when I made miso soup a couple of months ago. I crushed up those noodles and added them to the soup. It worked and looked ok but I usually like fusilli or orzo. Fusilli collects up the sauce wonderfully which is why I like it but the orzo is just the perfect shape to have a bit of everything on each spoonful.
One little trick I like to so for a thicker soup is that I squish up the squash as best I can with the cooking spoon so that it mixes into the broth. It really helps to get a better texture in my opinion and means the pasta have a little more thickness to hold the sauce on it. It is not a required step and you can skip that but it is something I like to do.
With pasta and the faux meat in there it is very filling so I rarely make it through more than one bowl. My husband, aka the bottomless pit, can eat two of three. Usually we do not need anything more with it.
Like I said, it is a family favourite and I hope it can be for you as well. Great on a cold night. Easy to make. Lots of flavour to satisfy the taste buds. No chickens were harmed in the making of this dinner. Enjoy!