peasant soup (with chicken)

This soup ain’t a looker, that’s for sure.

But it’s a fighter.

I had a cold last week and I like to think that because of this soup, I feel 100% again. That or the cough medicine. Or the day I took off to recuperate. Either of those.

Peasant Soup (with chicken) (adapted from Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights)
serves 4-6

Half an onion, chopped
A few splashes of olive oil
A few garlic cloves, peeled  and chopped in half (or leave whole, if you’re feeling lazy)
1 or 1/2 celery stalk
2 cups or more of chopped kale or spinach
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 can cannellini beans
About 12 oz. cooked chicken, shredded (I used a ready-made rotisserie chicken)
1 Parmesan rind (optional)
About 1 cup or less of grated Parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook oil, garlic and onion on low for about 5 minutes on low in a heavy-bottomed pan. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the celery and kale for another 3 minutes or so (pour in the stock if it gets sticky before then). Season with salt and pepper.
Add the stock along with the white wine.
Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.
Add beans and chicken.
Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Add the Parmesan rind.
Simmer for another 5 minutes or so. Remove what’s left of the rind (or you can let it melt in the soup, if you like).
Add grated Parmesan, stir and take off heat.

Besides it’s so-called healing powers, there are a lot of great things about this soup. The ingredients are generally inexpensive, you can substitute one thing for another, it’s fun to make since there are no strict measurements to adhere to and you can be kind of liberal with what you put in it. I liked adding the chicken because it made it a little heartier for a dinner (and for a man with a big appetite).

Oh, and it tastes good too. Did I forget to say that? In this particular soup, it’s the small touches that really make it tasty. The white wine adds a nice depth and acidity to the broth (I want to put white wine in everything!) and the Parmesan gives it a good salty kick. So yeah…my final thought is, wine and cheese make things taste great.

But I’m just preaching to the choir, am I right?

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