This soup is a bit random. Chicken, a lot of different vegetables, and even some ham all found their way into my soup pot this past weekend. But often times, isn’t that the beauty of soup? You might have a kitchen full of various bits and bites, leftovers, and odds and ends, and with the right combination and a little simmering time, you have a rustic, comforting meal. It’s not culinary extravagance, but it’s good, particularly when a cold wind is blowing outside.
This particular soup started because I wanted to find something to make using the ham bone from Christmas that I’d thrown in the freezer. I didn’t want a bean soup (although leftover ham bones make beans taste delicious), nor did I want a potato or greens soup. Instead, I opted to go rogue, and create a random soup using a chicken that was also in my freezer, dried shiitake mushrooms, and whatever veggies were knocking about in the fridge. I wanted it to be creamy and comforting, but I didn’t want it to be heavy.
What resulted as a humble soup relying mostly on long-simmered, pureed vegetables as the “cream”, plus more veggies for texture and interest. Not to mention tasty bites of chicken and a lovely ham flavor accenting throughout. It wasn’t beautiful, and it wasn’t fancy, but it warmed my belly and satisfied my soul. (It didn’t hurt that it was a bit nutritious too.)
Creamy Chicken and Vegetable Stew
1 ham bone with a bit of ham left on it
1 whole chicken
1/2 yellow onion, peeled but left in one piece, studded with 6 cloves
2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into a few pieces (don’t bother to peel)
1 stalk celery, cut into a few large pieces
1 bay leaf, 1/2 t coriander seeds, and 1/2 t peppercorns, tied into a bag with a small piece of cheesecloth
1 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
2 c vegetable broth
1 lemon, sliced
2 T olive oil
2 T arrowroot starch
1 c non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk)
2-3 c water
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
3 c chopped kale
1/4 t cayenne pepper
salt and pepper tp taste
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c chopped flat-leaf parsley
Place ham bone, chicken, onion, carrot, celery, bag of spices, mushrooms, and vegetable broth in a slow cooker. Lay lemon slices on top. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
Strain broth from meat and vegetables. Skim fat from broth, and place broth and the carrot, celery, and mushrooms (as many as you can pick out, don’t get too worried about getting every last one of them) in a blender and puree. Set aside. Pick meat from bones and tear into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, add olive oil. Heat to medium heat and whisk in arrowroot starch. Add non-dairy milk and whisk in. Bring to a slow boil, whisking frequently, until thick. Add broth mixture from blender, water, and carrots. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add meat, zucchini, kale, and cayenne. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add more water if needed. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice and parsley.
This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free.