FreshTartSteph Recipe: Chicken Vegetable Soup

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! I spent the holiday at my aunt Mary and uncle Bruce’s farm, about two hours west of Minneapolis. My uncle, his father, and his grandfather all raised their families in the farm’s charming old house, which imparts a sense of history that feels particulary right during the holidays. It doesn’t hurt that Mary is a wonderful cook and hostess who plies us with one healthy treat after the next for the duration of our stay. For me, every trip out to The Farm is a holiday!

In particular, my aunt makes delicious soup. She made the version below for us this past spring, when my husband and I were sick to death of winter and needing to get out of town. The weather isn’t any warmer near Kerkhoven, but the soup sure tastes like it is.

This version would be fabulous with turkey broth and/or meat, if you happened to have such a thing on hand. You could even stir in leftover gravy for another layer of richness. If not, it’s delicious as written (with chicken). You can probably see that any combination of vegetables would work beautifully. The soup’s intensely flavorful broth makes everything that touches it taste better—a combination of enhanced chicken stock and Polish kielbasa, which adds a hint of smoke and garlic.

Whether you put Thanksgiving leftovers to good use or start from the beginning with chicken, it’s always nice to enjoy a restorative, brothy soup after a big holiday meal.

Photo by Stephanie Meyer

Chicken Vegetable Soup

By Mary Felt
Serves 10-12

1 broiler/fryer chicken (2-3 lbs.)
8 c. chicken broth
1 leek, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 large turnip, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
3/4 lb. Polish sausage, sliced
1 c. shredded cabbage
2 c. cooked navy or great northern beans (optional)

Place chicken in a large Dutch oven, pour in chicken broth, cover, set over high heat, and bring broth to a boil. Turn heat to very low, so that broth barely bubbles (or set in a 225-degree F oven). Simmer for 2-3 hours, or until chicken is falling-apart tender. Remove chicken from broth; set aside to cool. Strain broth and skim off fat. Return the broth to the Dutch oven.

Add leek, carrots, turnip, onion, potato, garlic, pepper, parsley, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove and discard chicken skin, then remove chicken meat from the bones and cut into bite-size pieces. Add chicken, cabbage, beans (if using), and sausage to the pot. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.