Around this time last year, I blogged about my favorite homemade Chicken Noodle Soup from an old Southern Living magazine from the ’90’s that I have updated over the years. It is a winning recipe, I promise! Please see the original link I posted below and give it a try. However, I am working on cutting out “bad carbs” and that includes noodles so I transitioned my recipe to include the original broth but omitting the “carby” (my made up word) noodles while adding in tomatoes and beans that improve the protein and vitamin sources.
Normally, by the end of January, I have my first cold or sinus infection of the year’ this year was no exception. Living in East Tennessee, the climate constantly changes from day to day. Last weekend, Knoxville had 4+ inches of snow and temperatures in the teens and 4 days later it was 65 degrees and rain! These variations cause all kinds of ailments including colds, flus, sinus infections and allergies. My husband, Jeff, and my son, Jarrod both had what we call the “crud” in these parts and I followed soon after. However, I made a batch of my soup and it helped us all heal a little faster. It is no myth…Chicken Soup does really help relieve your symptoms. It is a natural decongestant! But, knowing we are really working hard to stay on the healthy track this year I revised my soup to a “carb friendly” version and I am very pleased with the results.
A special note…my recipe does include red pepper flakes. These are spicy and of course, optional. Omitting them will not change the delicious flavor of the soup. However, the benefits of “spicy” food can not be ignored. Not only do spicy foods promote heart health but also add weight loss and in fighting cancer. So for me, the spicier the better!
Chicken Vegetable with White Bean Soup
1 3.5 to 4 lb. chicken cut up with bone and skin or 2 very large chicken breasts (if you are in a hurry) *You can even use a combo of boneless breast and thighs if you like!
2-3 stalks celery, quartered
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2-3 carrots, quartered
1 turnip, quartered
2-3 gloves of garlic, peeled
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
5 cups water
5 cups chicken broth
1 large onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 teaspoon of olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and sliced ( I prefer to shave mine and then chop)
1 cup of chopped fresh tomatoes (you can also used canned)
1 15.8 oz can of Northern Beans, Navy Beans, or Cannellini Beans, rinsed & drainedN
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 -1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Chopped parsley (Optional Garnish)
Combine first 11 ingredients in a large Dutch oven, and bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes or until chicken is tender.
Remove chicken from broth to cool and allow broth to continue to simmer. Set aside chicken aside to cool slightly. Shred chicken
When chicken has cooled, Pour broth through a wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard cooked vegetables. Remove and discard fat from broth; return broth to Dutch oven.
I prefer to simmer for at least an hour to truly bring out the flavors, but if you are in a hurry it will still be tasty.
Saute onion and celery in olive oil until vegetables are tender.
Add sauteed celery and onion along with carrots, tomatoes and remaining seasonings to chicken broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 30 minutes.
Stir in chopped chicken and beans; Cook for 10-15 minutes on low.
**Note: If you choose to shave and chop your carrots like I usually do, you can add the remaining ingredients along with the sauteed carrots and onions.
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley as a garnish.
***Add additional Chicken Broth if needed
Bottom Line: This recipe is both extremely tasty and flavorful but also very healthy. If you want a more “stew-like” version, add in some canned diced potatoes and corn. Sometimes I just make the broth and the chicken just so I can freeze the broth for later uses and use the chicken in enchiladas or other incredible recipes. If you are short on time, you can definitely skip the broth method and just use 10 cups of regular chicken broth but it won’t quite have that homemade taste and your the health benefits aren’t quite as effective as making the broth from scratch. This soup fills my house with aromas that evoke feelings of warmth and comfort. I am Chef Frankie, Always in the Kitchen and Always Cooking with Wild Abandonment!