Chicken soup... There are few things more classic than a hot bowl of chicken soup. I often say if I could eat just one thing for the rest of my life it would be soup (throw in a hunk of warm crusty bread with a slab of butter on the side and I'd really be satisfied). I'll definitely be circling back to soups on Dahlicious in the future though so I won't go on about all of my favorites today. I do however want to share the classic chicken soup my mom made for us growing up and how I use the same general recipe but with modifications depending on my current desires (or what's on hand!). This week's pot of chicken soup was slightly inspired by a cup of chicken noodle soup I enjoyed this weekend at the local Jewish deli, Steve's. Mine however will forgo the noodles for a more protein packed cannelloni white bean and will include a few more veggies.
Steve's chicken noodle soup
The Soup: Hearty chicken soup with vegetables & white beans
I recently made my first ever homemade vegetable stock (I tried going vegan for a week before a 3 day juice cleanse and the stock was used in a number of dishes I made that week). This week though, I didn't have the time or desire to boil a whole chicken in water so I opted for store bought organic chicken broth.
5-6 chicken strips or 2-3 chicken breast
28-32 oz of chicken stock
14 oz can of diced tomatoes (preferably ones that are already in garlic, oregano, basil etc for flavor)
4-5 large carrots
10 or so celery stalks (make sure to include the light leafy parts as well they create great flavor and texture)
1 large yellow onion
1 bag of spinach
1 can of while cannelloni beans
A couple cloves of garlic
Salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, bay leafs
* The carrots, celery, and onion are fairly vital in the soup for flavor but there are no rules with soup that's what's so great about it! As for the spinach and white beans well that's my addition in place of my moms usual bow tie pasta.
Below are 2 methods depending on how involved you want it to be. The longer version only takes about 30 min of prep.
1.) Quick & Easy Version:
Give all of the veggies a rough chop. Bite sized. They'll shrink a bit while cooking so keep that in mind. Use a garlic press on the couple of cloves and add it to a large soup pot. Put all of the chopped veggies in, add the canned tomatoes and canned beans (after a quick rinse and strain), then add salt, pepper, dried oregano and dried basil. A small palm full of the dried herbs should be good. Add as much of the bagged spinach as will fit without getting too close to the top of the pot. Cover the ingredients with the chicken stock. Turn the burner on to medium/ high heat and bring to a boil. Add the rest of the spinach once the first batch has wilted. Once the soup is boiling bring it to low heat and let sit for 2 hours.
Place the chicken breasts or strips in a separate sauce pan and add water until the pieces are just covered. Bring the water to a boil and then on low heat until the chicken is cooked fully through. Remove the chicken and shred or chop into small hunks. Throw them in the soup, give a good stir, and there you've got a pot of hearty, healthy homemade chicken and white bean soup!
2.) Slightly more involved but slightly tastier version:
Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot on medium heat. Add in the onions and pressed garlic and let it sauté just a little. Add the celery and carrots as they're chopped and ready. I tend to chop the onions and throw them in, then while they're heating up chop the carrots and throw them in, then the celery etc. In truth though you can throw them all in at once and it will be just fine! Then add a layer of seasoning. I like to add seasoning after adding different ingredients, I think it makes for a more robust flavor. I also would suggest sprinkling a small palm full of the dried oregano into one hand then crushing the flakes into more of a powder between your hands before adding it to the veggies. Same goes for the basil. You can just throw it in, but again I find there's more flavor when the dried herbs are broken down. Also toss in 2-3 bay leaves. Not essential but will greatly enhance any soup. I have a jar of them on hand in my pantry at all times.
Next throw in the spinach. I usually put half the bag in and let it wilt down while mixing the veggies still over medium heat. Once wilted do the same with the remaining spinach. Next add the canned tomatoes and the canned white beans. Make sure to rinse the beans in a strainer under water to get rid of the excess starchy liquid from the can. Give it a good mix and cover the vegetables with chicken stock. Let the soup come to a boil then turn it down to low and let it sit for 2 hours with the lid on. Use the chicken method examined above and enjoy a pot of perfect homemade chicken soup with a twist.
This made 4 single serve tupperware containers worth of soup, which I will be bringing to work this week for a balanced, healthful, tasty, and satisfying lunch. Dahlish!