Giagia’s Chicken Vegetable Soup

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Giagia’s Chicken Vegetable Soup
Although we are in the middle of summer here in the GTA, last week the temperature was more suitable to early Fall or Spring instead of mid Summer. Since the weather was unseasonably cool for end of July, my Mom and I decided to make her famous Chicken Vegetable Soup. My Mom has been making this hearty soup for decades and now that I have my own family, I make it as often as I can; especially in the Fall and Winter. Not only does this soup bring comfort every time I eat it, but it also bring back fond memories of my grandparents.
Easter of 2001 was the last time I had seen my Pappou George alive and I had the pleasure of introducing this delicious Canadian Soup to my grandparents. Traditionally, I would have stayed at my Aunt Stella’s apartment across the street but since my grandparents had space for me in their apartment, I decided to stay with them. My Aunt Stella usually cooked for both families seeing how my grandparents were pretty old. On occasion Pappou would cook for himself and Giagia because he got tired of eating my Aunt’s food. One day, after the big fast for Easter I asked my Pappou and Giagia if I could cook for them. My Pappou was delighted. You see, I had never cooked for them. After getting permission to cook for my grandparents I decided on making my Mom’s Chicken Vegetable Soup to suit their delicate digestive systems. Cooking for the elderly is tricky sometimes. I gave my Pappou a list of the ingredients I needed for the soup and off he went to the market. Several hours later the three of us were enjoying hearty bowls of my Mom’s Chicken Vegetable Soup. This has to be my fondest memory of my grandparents because I was able to do something for them, plus they loved the soup and most of all that I made it for them. My grandparents talked about that soup for years afterwards. Before coming back to Toronto that Spring, my grandfather had twiddled me a cooking fork out of cherry wood and told me to use it well to feed people. To this very day, I still have that cooking fork and every time I use it I remember my awesome Pappou and his words of wisdom. I am grateful to have had such a wonderful Pappou. Euxaristo Pappou! Se agapo polli!
4 chicken breasts
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
thyme
oregano
basil
salt
pepper
1 onion, diced
3 to 4 garlic cloves, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 large potato, diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 cup barley
4 cups tomato pulp
4 cups chicken stock
1. Place the first grouping of ingredients into a large stock pot and boil for 30 to 40 minutes.
2. Remove the boiled chicken from the pot and reserve the chicken stock. Make sure to strain it well so that you have a clear chicken stock for later.
3. In the same stock pot, heat some canola oil and saute the onion, garlic, celery and carrots for 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Add the potatoes, zucchini, tomato pulp and chicken stock. Simmer for 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, shred the chicken breast into small pieces to replace back into the pot.
6. Last, add the barley and continue simmering for another 30 minutes or until the barley is cooked.
7. Serve with your favourite crusty bread.
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