Two weeks ago when we arrived in New Jersey, after several hours in the car, this was simmering on the stove at my sister's house. It was all too welcome as I had packed enough snack-type things to last us the trip without having to stop for a real meal... the promise of hot soup upon arrival! Carrots and hummus and crackers and some cinnamon cookies, Cars on DVD, a few books. Those were our road trip saviors. We stopped exactly one time, to use the bathrooms, and otherwise cruised straight there. We're sort of road-trip champions at this point. I've gone the whole way from Boston to NJ without one stop before (or the use of a bedpan!). That's probably not a good thing, as a body does need water, and when I stumbled out of the car, dehydrated and bedraggled, I thought better than to repeat that. Jokes, jokes, the dehydrated-stumble part never happened.
Anyway, we sat around my sister's table, all of us eating our bowl of hot soup. I exclaimed, "Kale?!" To my surprise, the greens in the soup are kale. I had sort of written kale off, having had it a few times, and really not enjoyed it. I know it's like the "it" vegetable of 2012-2013 but I just couldn't get on board with it. And, seeing as I quite like spinach, I decided to stop trying and keep on the spinach train. What'd spinach ever do to deserve being cast aside anyway? There is room for both, however, on your kitchen table so, if you're in agreement with me on the anti-kale sentiments, do try it in a soup. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Also, be sure to actually remove the leafy part from the tougher stem part. Toss the stems, keep the leaves.
Harvest Chicken Farro Soup
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 rib celery, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/2 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
salt & pepper
4 cups torn kale
1 garlic clove
8 cups chicken broth, divided
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2″ parmesan cheese rind (optional)
2 large chicken breasts (about 1lb), cut in half
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes (2 cups)
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ cubes (1-1/2 cups)
2/3 cup quinoa (or farro!), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large pot, and sauté your carrots, celery, onion till soft, ten minutes or so. Season with s&p. Add kale and garlic and continue sautéing. Add your seasonings & bay leaf (I used a poultry seasoning here, instead of the separate ones) and your cheese rind if you want (I didn't do that part). Add chicken breasts to the pot (raw! Loved cooking my chicken this way.). Once that's no longer pink, about ten minutes, take it out and put it on a plate. Add your potatoes, and grain. After that's cooked, add back your chopped/shredded chicken. Remove bay leaf, add parmesan cheese, and add some more broth as your grain will have absorbed a lot of it at this point.
Serve with a crusty loaf of bread and some more grated cheese. And, in my opinion, double this recipe always! This will be a staple soup this winter in my house, for sure. Everyone loves it, nutritious for you, easy ingredients. Winner.