Chicken Soup: Thinking Beyond the Noodle
Who doesn’t love chicken noodle soup? It’s reliable, it’s cozy, it’s delicious... however, it’s also a little tiny bit ho-hum. Been there, done that (like a million times). Chicken broth has a fairly mild flavour so I like to jazz it up whenever I have the chance. And if jazzing up chicken noodle soup is wrong, then I sure don’t want to be right.
One of my favourite ways to take chicken soup to the next level is by making it in a way that reminds me of Tuscany, with cannellini (or white) beans, kale and Italian sausage (spicy or not, depending on my mood). These add-ons are not only delicious, they are also nutritious! Beans are full of fibre and contain protein, and kale, as I’m sure you know, unless you’ve been living under a rock, has gotten quite the reputation for being a “superfood”. It runs through the alphabet of nutrients, containing substantial amounts of A, C, and K. And sausage... well, it’s not exactly a superfood (depending who you ask, of course), but it does contain lots of protein, which helps you feel full. This soup is a meal in a bowl. Take that, chicken noodle soup!
Canned white beans are super convenient, but they’re often full of salt, and I don’t know about you, but there’s just something about eating canned food that feels wrong to me. Sure, I do it all the time but... jarred cannellini beans feel fresher to me. The ones I love are called “Le conserve della nonna” ($2.99 at La Bottega), and in my book, anything that comes from a grandmother (nonna means grandmother in Italian), even a fake one, always tastes better.
Chicken soup with Italian Sausage, Kale and Cannellini Beans
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, finely chopped
-2 Italian sausages
-pinch of red pepper flakes, if desired
-6 cups chicken broth (either store-bought or see homemade recipe below), or any amount of chicken broth and water to equal 6 cups liquid
-2 sprigs rosemary and 2 sprigs thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
-1/2 bunch kale, torn into pieces
-1 Parmesan cheese rind, if desired
-1 jar Cannellini beans (recommended: Le conserve della nonna)
-salt and pepper, to taste
-Parmesan cheese, for serving (if desired)
-Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Squeeze sausage out of casing into the pot and use spoon to break into pieces. Add chili flakes, if using. Saute until almost cooked through. If you notice the bottom of the pan burning, lower the heat. Add chicken broth, being sure to scrape up the bits that have browned at the bottom of the pot. Increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add the herbs and kale, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Add beans just to heat through (they’re delicate). Remove herbs and cheese rind. Add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
-1 whole chicken
-1 onion, peeled
-1 carrot, peeled
-2 stalks celery
-Fresh herbs of your choice (eg. parsley, thyme, rosemary, dill), tied together with kitchen twine
-8 cups water, or enough to fill your pot about ¾ full.
-Salt and pepper, to taste
-Rinse chicken and pat dry. Place in large saucepan, breasts facing down. Add vegetables, herbs, salt and water. Heat at high heat until boiling. Lower heat to a simmer. Skim off any foam/fat that rises to the top; keep doing this until there is no more. Simmer for about 2 hours. Remove chicken and vegetables (these may be eaten, if desired). Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Lindsay (@Modern_Hostess) is a self-taught chef who has a passion for hosting. In her culinary experiments and musings, she shows that beautiful, flavourful homemade dishes are within everyone’s reach... as long as quality ingredients are used to prepare it. Join her as she peruses the fabulous inventory of La Bottega, and provides tasty ideas for enjoying their finest products.
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