Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - This Was Bland ~ What Would You Add?

04-08-2008, 08:11 PM
I made the following recipe last night ~ exactly like it said. Although it was good and had that "I am eating pretty healthy" feel to it, it was a little bland. What would you experts add to it to "taste it up" a bit?

Thanks ~ Gary


1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large potatoes, cubed
1 (16 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (10 ounce) bag fresh spinach
1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring chicken thighs, chicken stock, and water to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmer in until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken thighs, and set aside to cool. Reserve the broth.
While the thighs are cooling, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, then strain the reserved cooking liquid into the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25 minutes.
Cut the cooked chicken into cubes and add to the simmering potatoes. Cook for 5 minutes, then stir in the garbanzo beans, spinach, and roasted pepper; simmer 10 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese before serving.

04-08-2008, 08:27 PM
My question is, what is it supposed to be?

Looking at the ingredients, I'd add curry for a little spice. It would really depend what flavor you are trying to go for though.

04-08-2008, 08:31 PM
I would add a few more of those roasted red peppers, and maybe lightly brown those thighs in a tbsp of olive oil before simmering. maybe even brown them in the oven first.

04-08-2008, 08:34 PM
Thanks LADIES ~ oops NELIE! It was Chicken ~ Spinach ~ Potato Soup...a recipe from all recipes...

04-08-2008, 08:38 PM
Oh I'd still go with curry, curry goes well with all those ingredients :)

You could add some other things like italian spices for an italian flavor. Rosemary might be an especially good addition or Oregano.

04-08-2008, 08:39 PM
When I need more spice I reach for my red pepper flakes! If you are browning the chicken, add them with the oil and it will infuse the oil with heat. Yummmm!

04-08-2008, 08:50 PM
I agree with the curry powder. Just a dab will do but it will add a good punch. :)

Edge 2007

04-08-2008, 09:10 PM
A lot of the flavor comes from the bones. Next time you might want to start with thighs that still have the bones, then separate them out when the chicken cools. I know chefs will roast beef bones separately and then add them to the cooking broth. I'm not sure if they do that for chicken, but it would make sense.

04-08-2008, 09:18 PM
I'd substitute reduced fat feta cheese for the parmesan. It's got way more kick.

How about using red potatoes instead of plain old brown ones. Leave the skin on and they've got a lot more flavor.

04-08-2008, 09:45 PM
I would replace all of the water with fat-free chicken broth. This adds minimal calories but packs a big kick in terms of flavor. I never use water in my soup recipes, I don't care what the recipe says; if you use water, the soup always ends up tasting watered down.

I would also add big amounts of dried Italian or Mediterranean spices. Try basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf. I'd add 1 to 2 tsp of each, except for the bay leaf.

And when something comes out bland, my go-to spice is salt! Maybe you just didn't add enough salt. When I taste my soup, if it tastes a little bland, I add a little more salt. Go easy on the salt though--I add it in 1/4 tsps until the soup tastes rights.

04-08-2008, 09:55 PM
Red pepper flakes, asiago cheese instead of the parmesan, and a splash of thai fish sauce.

I add thai fish sauce to alot of dishes, not just oriental. Whenever worcestershire sauce is cauled for, I usually add fish sauce instead. If you add just a splash, it's almost like MSG it boosts the flavor without adding any identifiable flavor of it's own. It brings out the flavors and adds a richness.

I use it in chili, spaghetti sauce, soups, stews, etc. And I've gotten so many compliments I've often asked for my "secret." Most people can't believe what it is (especially since I'm not asian).

04-08-2008, 10:20 PM
Yep, these are all nice suggestions. Much as kaplods tends to add thai fish sauce, I often use soy sauce instead of salt. And I invariably chuck in stock cubes (chicken, often, or vegetable, or mushroom) whenever I'm cooking anything like stew or soup (or indeed cooking rice or, back before I started doing Atkins, and waved goodbye to rice and pasta). It starts you off with a nice base of flavourfulness.

Another simple change would be to add a stack of rosemary - rosemary goes nicely with chicken. Or coriander. Oooh! Or sage! Sage is a nice herb.

04-08-2008, 10:41 PM
AWESOME ideas gals ~ Thanks, Gary!

04-08-2008, 10:42 PM
A few drops of tabasco can do wonders... just not too many, unless you like breathing fire or else a bit of nutmeg, which goes great with spinach and any other greens.

04-08-2008, 10:57 PM
I know this sounds strange, but try adding a Tablespoon or two of vinegar. Vinegar is good to pair with spinach since it makes some of the nutrients more available. Balsamic would be good with the addition of some Italian herbs.

I'm also a big fan of adding a bit of soy sauce or Worcester sauce to soups.

04-09-2008, 12:07 AM
Ditto use all broth and no water. I almost always substitute broth when the recipe calls for water.

Ditto cook the thighs on the bone, and remove the bones when the ckn is done.

Ditto just a bit of vinegar
A couple of tsp lemon juice

My personal opinion is that using all broth will make the biggest difference.

04-09-2008, 05:12 AM
I know this sounds strange, but try adding a Tablespoon or two of vinegar. Vinegar is good to pair with spinach since it makes some of the nutrients more available. Balsamic would be good with the addition of some Italian herbs.

Or try adding 1/4 cup of white wine. Add it in at the very end and just cook for 5 min more or so.

04-09-2008, 08:40 PM
With all these ideas I think I can make this soup different every day for a week! THANKS SO MUCH LADIES!!!

04-09-2008, 09:00 PM
I'd add green chile. Yum!