Chicken and Winter Vegetable Soup

I adore soup. Hot soup, cold soup. Thick soup, thin soup. If it goes in a soup bowl and contains broth, chances are good I will happily eat it. I could eat soup every single day. The great thing about THIS soup, is it's so versatile! If you don't have kale, use chard! Or mustard greens, or spinach. If you don't like potatoes, use sweet potatoes. Feel confidant to use whatever you have on hand. Rutabegas, turnips, parsnips- these could all be used in place of the squash or the potato. Or added in because they're delicious! If I wasn't just starting another Whole30, I may even have added in some kidney beans. (If you don't know what the Whole30 is, read this.) The point of this recipe though, is that is so simple it's barely even a recipe. Let's think of this more a guideline for a great soup. Share your substitutions below! 

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided in half 
  • 3 chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 1 yellow onion, medium dice 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, medium dice
  • 3 carrots, peeled and medium dice
  • 1 pound of mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and medium dice
  • 1 delicata squash, peeled and medium dice
  • 1 quart of turkey or chicken stock 
  • 1 bunch thyme, leaves picked and chopped roughly
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, leaves chopped roughly 
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 

Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add the seasoned chicken breasts. Sear for about three minutes a side, until they pull up easily with tongs. Don't force them. When they are ready to be flipped, they will turn easily. My chicken breasts were small, if you have large ones they will take longer to cook. If you're unsure about their level of doneness, cut one in half. It's going to be chopped anyway, so it's fine. Set them aside to cool. 

In  heavy-bottomed stock pot, add the other tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat as well. Add in the onions and garlic and sauté about two minutes until they are slightly softened and deliciously aromatic. Add in the chopped celery, carrots, and mushrooms and give them all a good stir to ensure they are all evenly coated in the olive oil. 

Add in the potatoes, squash, and stock. I'm using turkey stock here because my mom stocked my freezer FULL after Thanksgiving and it's what I have. A suggestion here: whenever you roast a chicken, (or buy a rotisserie one from the grocery store) save the bones! Throw them in a plastic bag in the freezer and once you get enough to make stock- do it and freeze it. It's better for you and tastes better than the store-bought kind.

Roughly chop your kale, parsley, and your chicken breasts that should be cool enough to handle now. Simmer until the potatoes and squash are cooked through- depending on the size you chopped, it should be anywhere between 10-15 minutes. Mine were soft in ten. 

Stir everything together, saving some parsley and turn off the heat. Add in the almond milk. If you don't like almond milk, feel free to use milk, or cream. I don't consume dairy, but use what you have here. The point is to add some creaminess, so anything you enjoy eating will do just fine. Taste it and add some salt. Mine needed quite a bit with the starchy vegetables, I added a tablespoon, but we like things fairly well seasoned. : ) Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve with a big spoon. Yum!