This Sunday’s dinner was a bit of a negotiation. Daughter Miriam has had difficulty with garlic and onions lately. She had thought that it was getting better, but she pushed it too far and paid the price.
I would make a suggestion only to have her reject it for one reason or another. Sage roasted chicken was out because Miriam’s husband, Chris, can no longer stand this herb—long story of over seasoning. We finally settled on a chicken soup with beans and greens without onions or garlic.
I had originally planned to make the soup Florentine, but Jan though that if we did not eat it all the leftovers would be left with mushy over cooked spinach. Kale is a much hardier green that holds up to a long cooking time. Tuscan kale is a traditional addition to a soup like this.
Karl’s Tuscan Chicken Soup without Garlic and Onions
2 lb. chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
1½ tsp. Kosher salt, separate uses
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
¾ cup carrots, ½ inch chunks
3 cups Tuscan Kale, coarsely chopped
32 oz. chicken bone broth
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. basil, dried
½ tsp. oregano, dried
½ tsp. rosemary, dried and ground
2 cans cannelloni beans
1 Tbs. white balsamic vinegar
½ tsp. black pepper
½ cup flat-leafed parsley
1. Cut the chicken thighs into bite sized pieces place them in a bowl.
2. Sprinkle one teaspoon over the chicken and toss to distribute it over the chicken.
3. Cover and refrigerate the chicken while you prepare the soup.
Tip: This wait time give the chicken pieces time to absorb the salt.
4. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and add the celery, carrots and the remaining half teaspoon of salt.
Note: If you are not avoiding onions and garlic you may add a cup of diced onions at this point.
5. Sauté the vegetables until the carrots are starting to pick up some color, about 4-5 minutes.
6. Add the kale and continue sautéing until the leaves are well wilted, about another five minutes.
Note: Again, if you are not avoiding garlic, you may pull the vegetables to the sides of the pot and sauté 2-4 cloves of minced garlic at this point.
7. Deglaze the pot with a splash of the chicken broth.
8. Add the rest of the broth and the bay leaves and dried herbs.
9. Stir in the cans of beans with any liquid.
Tip: Rinse the cans with a bit of water and add it to the pot.
Note: You want to get all of the bean starch that has settled to the bottom of the cans to thicken your soup.
10. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and reduce the temperature to low.
11. Simmer the soup for 15-20 minutes.
12. Stir the chicken into to soup and continue simmering, covered, for another 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked through.
Tip: Stir the soup every few minutes to redistribute the chicken, so that the pieces cook evenly.
Note: I like to use thigh meat, because it is more forgiving and flavorful. If you prefer you may use white meat.
13. Remove the bay leaves and stir in the vinegar, pepper and most of the parsley.
Tip: Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
Note: I actually did not use the vinegar and my diners noticed and asked for it or some other bright high note like lemon juice.
14. Garnish the soup with the remaining parsley and serve in the soup pot.
Note: If you have a tureen, you may transfer the soup and then garnish the soup.