Friday, February 19, 2010

Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This has been a tough winter so far. Snow so deep where you don't expect it and long frigid nights even in the south. For me, soups and stews are about the best and most comforting foods you can have on days like these. This Italian Chicken and Vegetable soup is thick with vegetables and chicken, bold in Italian seasonings and flavor and is so hearty it makes a great meal. If you don't have a particular vegetable the recipe is flexible enough to use what you have on hand. This is a very forgiving recipe and you can add your own personality to it and make your own. If you are a vegetarian you can even omit the chicken and chicken stock and substitute tofu and vegetable stock. The choice is up to you. I hope you enjoy.

Italian Chicken and Vegetable Soup


3 lbs. chicken, whole roaster or assorted parts
4 cups water
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup onion, diced
10 cloves garlic, sliced
1 cup celery, diced
1 1/2 cup carrot, diced
2 cups zucchini, diced
2 cups yellow squash, diced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 1" pieces
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. parsley
1 - 14.5 ounce can no salt added diced tomatoes
2 - 15.5 ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper

Using a large stock pot or dutch oven place the chicken, water and stock on high heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Make sure to skim the top of the fat and debris that floats up and discard it. This is process is well worth it and takes little effort. You are enriching the chicken stock you have, which gives it a rich, full flavor. Reserve the stock and remove the chicken to a plate to cool. When the chicken has cooled enough to handle, remove the skin and pull from the bones. Shred the chicken into bite sized pieces.

In another large stock pot or dutch oven on medium high heat saute the onion, garlic, carrot and celery in the olive oil until tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Add the zucchini, yellow squash. mushrooms and green beans. Stir everything together and add the bay leaves, oregano, thyme, basil and parsley. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Add the reserved chicken stock, tomatoes and cannellini beans. Simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes until the vegetables are tender but not over cooked. Stir in the shredded chicken and grated Parmesan cheese to finish. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Nutrition Facts
16 - 1 1/3 Cup Servings
Amount Per Serving
Calories 112.6
Total Fat 2.1 g
Saturated Fat 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.0 g
Cholesterol 10.2 mg
Sodium 428.8 mg
Potassium 396.5 mg
Total Carbohydrate 15.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.9 g
Sugars 2.7 g
Protein 10.1 g

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