Chicken, White Bean, Kale, and Orzo Soup (For the Soul)

I plan my weekly meals according to what is on sale at Fresh Market each Tuesday and Saturday (December was awesome; lobster and bacon galore!). Fresh Market is, at the moment, my grocery store of choice, because I absolutely cannot stand to shop at Kroger or Martin’s in the city of Richmond. I used to drive all the way out to Short Pump each week so that I could shop at Whole Foods and/or Trader Joe’s, but that got old really quickly. For me, grocery shopping should be an enjoyable experience; I want good availability of the meats/produce I need and I want a nice atmosphere.

This month, the main sale at Fresh Market is on chicken. And I am not a big fan of chicken. Admittedly, it’s probably because I cannot cook it very well. But, really, it’s so bland and boring! Not to mention dirty and gross and all that. Yet, since we are saving up for our big move to New York, I’m making an effort to learn the ways of the chicken. Last night, I took an easy way out and whipped up some chicken, white bean, kale, and orzo soup. And honestly, it turned out pretty great! I am also pretty proud of the fact that the only thing I had to buy for the recipe was the chicken, since I had everything else on hand. I have no idea what I am going to make next week, so any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Apologies for the lack of pictures in this post – I started a new, temporary, job this past Monday and my mind has been on another planet.

 

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Grocery List

1 tbsp olive oil

1-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 carton of chicken stock

½ a medium to large yellow onion, chopped

2-3 stalks of chopped celery

A handful of baby carrots, chopped

1 can of cannellini beans

As many handfuls of chopped curly or Lacinto kale as you’d like

1 butterflied boneless chicken breast (roughly 1.5 llbs)

1/3 cup orzo

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

½ teaspoon of crushed red pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper to taste

Freshly grated Parmesan and Romano cheese (for topping)

 

How To

First, start the soup. Put a large pot, drizzled with the olive oil, on the stove over medium/high heat. Throw in the chopped onions, celery, and carrots and cook until soft and translucent (5-8 minutes). Then add in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Next, pour in the chicken stock and the cannellini beans (with liquid). Add in all of the spices, including a touch of salt and pepper. Bring the pot to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer while you assemble the rest of the soup goodies.

At this point you can put a small pot of water on the stove to cook the orzo. I’m not going to go through these details – the orzo container can tell you how to do it – but when the orzo is finished, set it aside to be added to the soup later. You can also cook the orzo in the soup, if you’d like.

Pre-heat your oven’s broiler for about 5-10 minutes. Prepare the chicken breast by placing it on a broiling pan, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in the broiler (when ready) and let it cook for roughly 15-18 minutes. The chicken is done when you see clear juices running from its sides. Set the chicken on a cutting board and let it cool for a few minutes. Then, slice the chicken breast thinly and then in smaller pieces, suitable for soup.

Taste the soup and ensure it is seasoned to your liking. When you are just about ready to serve, throw in the cooked orzo, along with the cooked chicken, and the chopped kale. Once the kale wilts, you are ready to go. Serve hot, topped with the freshly grated Parmesan and Romano cheeses.  This soup serves about 4-5 big servings, so hurray, we’ve got dinner tonight too!

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