Tortellini Chicken Soup for Nerds

I am a nerd.  My friends and family will confirm this.  One of the plethora of things that makes me a nerd is that I love French cooking terms (another thing is that I use words like “plethora“).  When I make soup, I get to use a few of my favorite ones, so that’s the sole reason I made up this recipe.  It turned out really lovely and the family ate it up, so that was an extra bonus.

I have mentioned before that my husband is not a soup guy.  He is the kind of person who eats soup when he is sick in bed.  I though, relish getting lost in a deep bowl of steamy, brothy soup.  It lifts all my weariness away.  Feeling guilty for serving yet another soup recipe, I thought using cheese tortellini as the noodle component would add a little bit of extra hardiness and manliness to this soup.  Turns out it worked!

Tortellini Chicken Soup

Prep about 40 minutes

Serves 6


1 Tablespoon Salted Butter

1 Tablespoon Olive oil

2 carrots, diced

3 stalks celery with leaves, diced

2 shallots, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (or you can substitute Fines Herbs)

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 Tablespoon dried or fresh parsley

2 quarts chicken broth

1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)

1 prepared rotisserie chicken

1 18 oz pkg tortellini

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup water

salt and pepper to taste


I know this kinda looks like a plethora of ingredients, but trust me, it’s really easy.

1.   Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add the butter and olive oil.

2.  When the butter has melted, you are going to go ahead and add the mirepoix.  What is a mirepoix, you say?  Well, that is my number one favorite French cooking term and it makes me feel like Julia Child when I say it.  It is simply a mixture of carrots, celery, and onion and is the base of many soups, stews, and other fine dishes.  It is otherwise known as “the trinity”-in the cooking world that is.  I am feeling crazy today and I used shallots instead of onions.  Actually, the real truth is that those shallots have been shriveling in my fridge and they were on their last leg, so I thought what the heck?  Better mess up my mirepoix than let those pricey shallots go to waste.  They are just like an onion, but milder, and you peel and mince them just like you would a clove of garlic.  Sauté (ooo another French cooking term), the mirepoix in the butter and oil for about 6 minutes while you assemble your spices.


Now, that is a lovely mirepoix, if I do say so myself.

3.  After about six or so minutes, your vegetables should be starting to soften.  Add the thyme or fines herbs, turmeric, and parsley.  Continue to sauté until your veggies are tender, but not mushy soft, as they are still going to cook more in the broth.  I am probably breaking some rule of cooking by letting my veggies get a little brown in this step, but I like the color and flavor it adds to the soup.


4.  Once the veggies are tender, add the broth and heat it up to a simmer.  If you are using white wine you can add that now-the soup is great without it, but it sure adds a punch of flavor.  Stir the veggies and broth.  Do you know what you just did?  You deglazed the pan.  That means you pulled up the fond (my second favorite French cooking term-referring to the little browned bits on the bottom of the pan that are so flavorful and not to be wasted).

5.  Now that you have rescued the fond, or those browned bits from the bottom of the pan, go ahead and shred up your rotisserie chicken.  There is no pretty way to do this and I didn’t want to show a chicken carcass on my blog, so just go ahead and rip it into bits with your fingers any which way you would like.  I don’t have a French cooking term for this process, unfortunately.    Throw the shredded chicken into the pot with all of the other goodness that is floating around in there.


6.  Take the 1/4 cup of flour and put it in a bowl and add 1/2  cup warm water and stir it with a fork dissolving the lumps.  Add this to the soup.  This will thicken the broth.

7.  Now, taste.  Yes, I am well-aware that we haven’t added the pasta yet-stay with me.  This is a very delicate process.  Add some salt and pepper until the broth makes you want to let out a huge sigh from the sheer intoxicating loveliness of it.

8.  When you have the broth where you want it, your veggies are as tender as you want them, and the chicken is heated through, go ahead and add the tortellini.  You really only want to cook it 3 or 4 minutes before you turn off the heat and serve the soup.  You don’t want it getting all mushy.


I used tri-colored tortellini because I have an eye for these things-really it was a buck cheaper than the plain stuff.  I am sure glad I decided to use this kind, it is so pretty.

9.  Ladle the soup into deep bowls and just behold the sight:


Just let that fragrant aroma soak into your pores a minute before you sink your spoon in and get lost for a good half hour or so.  If you don’t want to eat this, there is surely something wrong with ya!

I hope you enjoy making this soup and saying the new French cooking terms you learned today over and over again to yourself or anyone who is willing to listen.  If you do, you are surely a nerd.


A plus tard!  (That is see ya later in French).





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