Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Chicken and Kale Soup

Much malaise has been swirling around my home for the past week.

Timothy has an ear infection, Matthew has a fever and runny nose.

And I'm sick of it, no pun intended.

But, as I returned from dropping Timothy off at school this morning, anticipating a morning of cooking and blogging about this soup, it hit me.

Achy muscles, chills, throbbing joints.

You know, the feeling of general impending doom.

I just about stopped making the soup right in the smack-dab middle of it because I felt that bad.

But then I thought

And I pressed on.

I'm so glad I did because this soup ROCKS

Seriously.  I just ate two bowls, and I could have sworn I wasn't even hungry.

And now I feel much better!

So let's rename this the Miracle Chicken and Kale Soup.

(There are about 20 jillion pictures in this post.  Just warning you.)

And let's keep it real, here.  The picture below is a general illustration of what you don't normally see because I zoom in.  My precious bebe, always underfoot. 

I know you're distracted by the police car on the quinoa, but do you see the shoe on the table? 

Never a dull moment!

Ingredient list:  chicken quarters, carrots, celery, onion, spices, kale,
diced tomatoes, white beans, quinoa, parsley, and Parmesan cheese.

Let's talk chicken here.
Please wash your chicken before you use it. 
See that gross little thing sticking up from the leg quarter on the top?
Pin feather or whatever.
It needs to go.

Bye-bye now.
Perhaps the most thrown-away part in the veggie world:  celery leaves.
They are pretty good for you.
I chopped up a few and tossed them in for good measure. 

And then I chopped the rest.

These are organic carrots.
So, after a good scrubbing,
I saved myself a little time and didn't peel them.
I'm a rebel that way.

  But I did chop them.

Next up, the onion.
I love onions.

 Halve it and then chop it, please.

What's this, you ask?
This is what happens when a small child helps himself to the marshmallows
while his mommy is chopping onions.

 Add a little olive oil a large stock pot.
Crank the heat to medium-high.

 Saute the onions for a few minutes alone,

then add the rest of the crew.

Saute for about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken stock (or broth) to the pot.

Then add the spices and the chicken.

Simmer over medium heat until chicken is done.

(If you are using really large cuts of chicken or a whole chicken,
it might take an hour or two.

To hasten the progress, dice up a few chicken breasts.)

I fished out the chicken once it was cooked through.
Then I rinsed it with cold water so I
could quickly remove the skin without burning myself.
And then I used two forks and shredded it.

Now back to the kale.
Please "google" how good kale is for you.
It's amazing.

Chop it roughly and add it to the soup.

I feel myself getting better just by looking at it!

Now, get your quinoa.

And add it to the pot.

Same with the beans.

I was feeling so crummy by this point that the
thought of tomatoes threatened to do me in.

So I skipped them.

But if I hadn't, a picture of them being added to the soup would be here.

Cook soup over medium heat for about
15 additional minutes until the quinoa is done.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with the grated Parmesan.

There are approximately one hundred million variations to this soup.  Here are just a few:

1) Nix the chicken, swap the chicken stock for veggie broth, and voila!  It's vegetarian!  Leave out the cheese and it's vegan.

2)  Add in the diced tomatoes that I forgot.

3)  Add some diced green chilies for a little heat.

4)  Swap out bow-tie pasta (or any sort, really) for the quinoa.

Chicken and Kale Soup
makes 12 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
7-8 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
12 cups chicken stock (or broth)
3-4 pounds chicken (either a whole chicken, chicken quarters, or breasts)
9 black peppercorns
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped (1 tablespoon dried)
1 teaspoon rosemary (all herbs may be dried)
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt (plus more to taste)
1-2 bunches fresh kale, chopped
2 (14.5 ounce) cans white beans, drained
1.5 cups quinoa
1 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
Parmesan cheese, grated, to garnish

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions, and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Then add carrots and celery and saute for about 10 minutes.  Add the next nine ingredients and cook over medium heat for about an hour, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove cooked chicken and shred.  Return shredded chicken to pot.  Then add in kale, beans, quinoa, and tomatoes.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is done.

This soup freezes very well.


Many thanks to my friend Stacy for passing along this recipe to me.  It was developed by her friend. I fiddled with the amounts a little bit, but, with the exception of the olive oil, I didn't alter the ingredients.)


Caneel said...

Looks amazing -- and I hope you're feeling better today!

Heather-Gathering Spriggs said...

wow! what a cooking warrior you are!! im so sorry. i hope you received some of the benefits from it and are feeling better ... poor dear. I can't imagine handling raw chicken, chopping up veggies (instead of buying a frozen bag) and then on top of all that meticulously taking pictures and then having the energy to write about it all with verve and your usual creative voice!! Wow! that is all i can say. you are an amazing woman!! Thank YOU!!
Its funny cause I made almost this same exact soup yesterday but used gluten free noodles. (ok and yes. frozen veggies) and thought about tossing in some kale but then convinced myself that it was weird and "who puts kale in their soup" i thought i was being too concocting -y like my mom.
so wow. who knew! you can use kale in a soup!

i do have one question though. but you can only answer it when you feel 100% better!
how do you keep the chicken from being tough. everytime i boil chicken it seems to be tough not moist and tender. I sauteed it a little before in some butter maybe that did it. i dk.

Ginny said...

Heather--I don't know if it makes a difference or not, but I never truly "boil" a "violent" full-rolling boil. I only "gently" simmer it. And, pretty much the only time I simmer chicken is when I use it in a soup. So, if it is dried out, no one can tell because it's swimming in liquid.

I'm not sure if that makes sense!

But thanks for asking a question!

Anonymous said...

Looks delicious! Will be making this tonight! Thought the below link might be informative for you...I just learned that NOT washing your chicken is actually recommended to reduce the spread of germs. Anyway, I look forward to trying this recipe! It's cold and rainy out and I am just getting over a cold as well. Bring on the miracle soup!