Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Chicken and Tarragon Soup With Ravioli

This week I've been trying to get fit. I know, don't faint with shock from the news but it's true.  After years of abusing my body with every substance I could lay my hands on (well, just beer, mainly) and leading what one could definitely call a sedentary lifestyle, I decided that something needed to change - possibly as I'm nearing a significant landmark birthday (hint : It isn't 21) and developing a decidedly hypochondria's perspective on life...

So I started running.  Yes, for the first time since doing PE at school, I intentionally set out to run somewhere (as opposed to chasing a bus or that time I got attacked by angry bees) and guess what? I'm still (just about) alive to tell the tale!

So what does this have to do with soup?  Well, I'm one of those people for whom calories seem like witchcraft, fat and sugar content are mysteries on par with the fate of Atlantis.  Whereas some people can pick up food and make an informed decision about their health and diet suitability, I'm left scratching my head and thinking "60% fat, well that's not too bad, is it?"

So I thought I'd have a go at producing a vaguely healthy soup this week, and also using my new found enthusiasm for the pasta maker. And having now made fresh pasta and then turned it into ravioli, I believe I could give Michelle Roux Jr a run for his money in the culinary stakes...
This soup is so light and tasty, and I've never really cooked with tarragon before, but I love the taste, although I'm given to understand that there is a global tarragon shortage at the moment, although no-one seems to have told my local supermarket... And you can use some left over chicken from the Sunday roast for the filling of the ravioli as well

For the Broth
1.5l Chicken Stock
1 1/2 tbsp Finely Chopped Fresh Tarragon
250ml White Wine

For the Pasta
250g plain flour / pasta flour
1tsp Salt
1 Egg and 3 more egg yolks, lightly beaten
1tbsp Olive Oil
1 Egg White

For the Filling
200g Cooked Chicken
Zest of 1/2 Lemon
1tbsp Chopped Tarragon
1tbsp Chopped Flat leaf Parsley
60ml Double Cream

1.  Make the pasta. I used pasta flour, which is finer than plain flour, but if you can't get it, then plain will do just fine.  Sieve the flour and salt into a pile on a clean surface, then make a well in the middle.  Pour in the beaten eggs and oil and start to bring the mixture together with your finger tips.

After a while, the mixture will start to come together, but if it's too dry, add some water, sparingly as you don't want to make it too wet.  Once it forms a ball, need for about 5 minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and a bit elastic.  Then wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Run the pasta maker to make sheets, then cover them is a sprinkling of flour and set aside for the moment.
 2.  Next prepare the filling for the ravioli.  Put the chicken, herbs and zest in a food processor, with some salt and pepper, then pulse the blender to finely chop the ingredients, but not puree them.  Take the mixture out of the blender, put into a bowl and stir in the cream.  Set this aside to chill for 10 minutes.
3.  Cut the pasta sheets into pieces about 6cm by 12cm and lay them out flat.  Into each one, spoon a ball of the filling about 3 or 4cm in diameter, leaving enough space to fold and seal the ravioli, then moisten the edges of the pasta with lightly beaten egg white, before folding it over and sealing it around the edges, first with your fingers, then trim the ravioli to neaten it and finally press the edges down with a fork.  Put the finished ravioli in the fridge to chill for an hour at least before cooking them.
 If you make too much pasta (and I did!) separate the sheets with greaseproof paper, put them in a sealed bag and put them in the freezer for later use...

4. Heat the stock in your soup pan, then add the wine, tarragon and season to taste. Let this cook for about 10-15 minutes, so the stock infuses with the taste of the tarragon/

5.  Heat a large pan of salted water.  Once it's come to the boil, cook your ravioli for 10 minutes.  You may have to do this in batches if you're making a lot of ravioli.  I just about got away with 10 ravioli in one pan!

6.  Drain the ravioli and then transfer them to the stock, cook for another 5 minutes and you are ready to serve/
7.  Garnish with some freshly chopped tarragon.  Enjoy!


  1. Oh,another soup that I will be doing myself soon. I very nearly got the opportunity tonight, but the leftover chicken and the stock was donated to an elderly and unwell neighbour instead, with potatoes and carrots and other goodies in a get well soup.
    Ah well, next time.

  2. This looks and sounds fantastic. Good on you for intentionally running somewhere, I have the intention of intentionally running somewhere at some point too. I like this soup because you wouldn't necessarily put it in the 'healthy' category as it sounds too good.

  3. Hi, you will have seen that the new Food on Friday ingredient is chicken. I noticed that you did this post on chicken which I think would be great linked in. We already have a collection of over 40 recipes which is wonderful. At the moment the Food on Friday edition with the most links is Beef with 73 – I get the feeling though that Chicken could become the new record holder!
    Have a great day and thank you for following Carole's Chatter. It 's nice to have you along for my blogging journey.