Cleaning out the cupboards never tasted so good!
That is to say, last night I got bit by the organizing bug. Tired of seeing mass chaos when opening the cupboards, I filled up a couple boxes with plates, bowls, cups, and mugs that we no longer (if ever) use to take to Goodwill, then threw away expired cookie mixes and cookie butters (sob!) ’til I could clean no more.
Ahhh, that feels SO much better! Anyone else have a mug hoarding problem, btw? What’s sick is that I’m the only one that drinks coffee, and I use travel mugs every morning – not ceramic!
Anywho, I also cleaned out my cook book cupboard and in addition to loading 15 or so into a box to take to 1/2 Price Books, I found a few gems that were worth saving like this bad boy, Eating For Life.
I used to work for a publishing company and was always getting super random cookbooks like this one for free. While it’s aimed at people with diabetes, or those eating for healthier hearts, the flavorful, easy, and impressive recipes like Harvest Pork Soup inside made me pick it up and take home.
Although I’m not a huge fan of pork in soups (love it in chili though) I really liked the idea of a harvest-themed soup recipe, so I swapped the pork for chicken then added tons of fall veggies and protein-packed quinoa for staying power.
A creamy duo of both sweet and regular potatoes mingling with poppy quinoa, earthy herbs, and hearty kale made this soup kind of taste like chicken soup on ‘roids. It is perfect for the cold and blustery week we’re having around here!
Start the Harvest Chicken Quinoa Soup soup by gathering all the ingredients together before you begin cooking.
Heat 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat, then saute 1/2 cup each chopped celery, carrots, and onion (cut big so Ben can pick out!) with salt & pepper until soft, about 10 minutes.
BTW: If you need a good gift idea for the holidays, I highly recommend my Calphalon Enamel Cast Iron Pot. I got this one from a friend years ago and it holds onto heat SO well!
Once the veggies are soft, add 4 cups chopped kale, and 2 minced garlic cloves, then season with more salt & pepper (important to season each layer!) and cook for 2 more minutes.
Next add 7 cups chicken broth and classic chicken soup herbs including 1 bay leaf, 1 teaspoon parsley flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
Note: buy 8 cups (2-32oz containers) of chicken broth then save the remaining cup to add when reheating leftovers, as the quinoa will absorb a lot of the broth as it cools.
Bring the broth up to a boil, then nestle in 2 large chicken breasts that have been cut in half to poach in the hot broth.
I like cooking chicken this way because, a.) you don’t have to add any additional fat, and b.) the chicken gives the soup even more chickeny flavor.
Once the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes later, remove it to a plate then shred it all up.
Meanwhile, add 1 large chopped sweet potato, 1 large chopped russet potato, and 2/3 cup rinsed and drained quinoa to the boiling broth. Vitamins, minerals, and protein, oh my!
Place a lid on top of pot, turn the heat down to medium, then let the potatoes and quinoa cook for about 10 minutes, then add the shredded chicken back in.
Finally, stir in 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh or pre-grated – whateveh you’ve got.) The cheese adds a depth of flavor and richness that the veggie-full soup needs. Ooo, BY THE WAY, a parmesan cheese rind added into the soup at the potato/quinoa stage would be DIVINE!
Ladle into bowls, and enjoy!
Harvest Chicken Quinoa 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, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Heat oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add carrot, celery, and onion, season with salt and pepper, then saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add kale and garlic, season with more salt and pepper, then saute for 2 more minutes. Add 7 cups chicken broth, parlsey flakes, dried thyme, bay leaf, and parmesan cheese rind (if using), then bring to a boil.
- Add chicken breasts to the pot then cook for 10 minutes, or until no longer pink in the center. Remove to a plate then add sweet potato, russet potato, and quinoa to boiling broth. Place a lid on top, lower heat to medium, then cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked. Meanwhile shred chicken.
- Add shredded chicken back to the soup, remove bay leaf, then add parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt & pepper if necessary. Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese, if desired. Use remaining 1 cup chicken broth to add when reheating soup, as quinoa will absorb much of the broth as it cools.
It’s borderline ridiculous how healthful you will feel while eating this soup. If there was ever a two bowl minimum serving suggestion, this is it!
I also loved the unexpected subtle sweetness of the sweet potato in an otherwise savory soup. I was tempted to throw in a cup or two of the cubed butternut squash I have in the freezer, but wussed out in the end. I’ll definitely throw it in next time though, which there most definitely will be!