We consider the effective action of the chiral quark model to leading order in the number of colors. A set of massive ghost-like Gervais-Lee fermion doublets is introduced which effectively simulate an asymptotically free behavior for the quarks at short distances. This suppresses the vacuum instability and leaves the Wess-Zumino sector unspoiled. At small momenta, we show that the action generated in this way compares well with experiment by performing a chiral expansion up to fourth order. It is found that this action supports stable soliton solutions with baryon number one. Masses, mass-splittings and the sigma-term are estimated in theSU(2) limit.