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Portuguese Minty Chicken Soup
with Pasta and Lemon


A clear, light Portuguese canja--excellent as a palate reconditioner. It was born in medieval Portugal, mixing as it does mint and lemon. Serve hot as a first course to 4-6 people.

Garnish: paper thin lemon slices, topped by a mint leaf

In a large saucepan, simmer chicken breast in stock with the onion, parsley, lemon zest, and mint sprig until done--about 35 minutes. Remove the breast, cool, then strip off the meat and cut into a julienne. Strain the broth, return to the pot, and bring to a boil. Add pasta and chopped mint. Season to taste with salt and white pepper. Heat until the pasta is cooked al dente (firm, literally "to the teeth"). Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and chicken julienne. Ladle into soup plates and top with lemon slice and mint leaf.