September 20, 2016

White Bean Chicken Soup

White Bean Chicken Soup

The events surrounding the arrival my first born, Scout, are as vivid as the moment they happened. Given that this week he is turning six (where does time go?!?) I find myself reflecting on the details of that magical time: the (very) slow drove we took home from the hospital with our new cargo, the teeny, tiny outfit he wore, his thick mane of dark hair, and all the love (and food) that was poured out on us by our awesome community of friends and family, as meal after meal showed up on our doorstep.


...filled with white beans, roasted chicken, savory herbs and hearty root vegetables.

It was obvious to me that everyone who brought meals had been inspired by their latest Martha Stewart Magazine, the coveted October issue (which is of course released in September), because despite the 90° temps that were still in full affect far into the month, we received one pot after another of rich, warm soups and stews. My husband and I still crack up at the memory of being in our then tiny, 100 year old house with no AC, my hormones raging and causing me to sweat more than I care to admit, and the spicy bowls of chilli and savory meat stews, that while delicious, made for quite the combination those first few weeks. I get it though. As homemakers, home cooks or just Autumn enthusiasts, we all seem to hit a wall of grilled meats and fresh veggies come about the second week of September, and no matter the weather, we choose to make the switch to one pot comforts and slow cooked meats, as if that decision alone will hurry Fall along. I'm in that boat, too.

You can imagine my excitement then, when last weekend it rained. Like really, really rained. Fall was showing it’s face with no reservations, and it turns out I’m not the only one in my tribe who was ready to embrace the change. My entire family napped at the same time Saturday, talk about miracle. Young and old alike we all melted into that sleepy, lazy day, which flowed nicely into an afternoon of quiet play and me getting to read my book (any other Outlander fans out there?) wrapped in a big blanket by an open window. The next logical step that evening was soup, and soon warm, hearty, brothy, vegetable filled soup graced our table and all was right with the world.

Next month you’ll most likely find me complaining about the fading of my tan, the early nights and what to do with my kids in all this rain, but I'm not there yet. For now, I’m embracing the change by bringing out all my favorite soup and stew recipes, like this, and this, and this one, too. And over the next few months, Holly and I are excited to share some new favorites in this category, as well.

After cooking an array of soups over the last several years, I’ve come to appreciate a good chicken broth based soup just as much as any rich and creamy bisque. The soup I'm sharing today is one of the former; a slurpable, soothing, chicken broth base, that's filled with white beans, roasted chicken, savory herbs and hearty root vegetables. It's pretty much exactly what I'm craving on a cold and rainy day, which means over the next oh, seven months or so, you can expect to find me and mine eating this on any given day. And while I may (eventually) begin to complain about the weather, you'll never find me complaining about the copious amounts of soup I've eaten.

White Bean Chicken Soup

Serves 6

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced (optional)
1 bay leaf
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups chicken stock
2 14 oz cans of white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 cups shredded chicken, roasted or from a rotisserie chicken
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped (plus extra for garnish)
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and roughly chopped
1 lemon, juiced
Parmesan cheese for serving

Method

  1. In a large pot heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onions, carrots, celery, jalapeño and bay leaf until vegetables are just tender. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add in chicken stock, white beans, chicken, salt and pepper and dill. Bring to a boil then reduce to a swimmer. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Add chard and lemon juice and simmer for another 10 minutes. If you like it a little bit more "bright" add more lemon juice.
  4. Serve garnished with dill and shaved Parmesan.

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