Tuscan Chicken, Bean, and Squash Soup

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Tuscan Chicken, Bean and Squash Soup

With this record cold snap upon us and holiday leftovers lurking in our fridges and freezers, it feels like January is a good month to feature soups. Not that I believe soups should only be left for those times when you clean out the fridge, although that is a great incentive. I am a great proponent of soups being made with intent.

In keeping with that conviction, when I roasted a chicken for our Christmas dinner with both of our parents, I slung the carcass back into the roaster after removing most of the meat, filled the roaster half full of hot water, added a few bouillon gel caps, salt and pepper, and roasted it again for another 2 hours. That makes a mighty tasty stock, let me tell you. I had added onions and some vegetables to the chicken earlier, so I figured I didn’t need to add more for the stock. My stock turned out a deep rich colour and flavour, and I stuck it in the freezer in anticipation of the Moment of Soup.

IMG_20180103_163101361_HDR.jpg
Homemade chicken stock. Chill to remove the fat layer easily.

This week, with the Great Freeze upon us, I knew it was going to happen. The intense colour and rich flavour of the chicken stock reminded me of a dish I had in the tiny country of Andorra. Wee Andorra is tucked between France and Spain, at the foothills of the Pyrenees, and we had booked a chalet in the mountain. This was on a European trip with my sister and her husband for both of our 25th anniversaries. We had so much fun and made so many memories on that trip!

We were climbing and winding our way up to the chalet, faithfully following Ginny Penelope Sauder (What? Don’t you name your GPS?). All of a sudden, she said we had arrived at our destination. We stopped and looked around. There was a rundown little shack tucked in the ditch beside the road, but it certainly didn’t look like the kind of place I want to live in When I Arrive. We deliberated, consulted a map, consulted each other, consulted our Heavenly Father, drove this way and that, and laughed as another carload of obvious tourists drove up, stopped at the very same spot, got out and looked in bemusement at the shack, then piled back into the vehicle and kept on driving. We decide we would continue upwards and sure enough, there was our chalet at the very top, beyond the sphere of GPS Land! This was at the end of April, and there was quite a bit of snow up there, but the cherry trees were blooming. I’ve always wondered if they had a cherry crop that year. But I digress. The hosts were warmly welcoming, there was an inviting fire blazing in the hearth with beaten tin panels surrounding it, and the food was superb! I had a delicious chicken stew in which the meat perched atop a pile of vegetables in a pool of the most delicious broth. It must have been good; how often do you remember a broth five years later? I did, and when I saw a recipe for a Tuscan Chicken Soup, I knew that was a perfect way to showcase it.

As usual, I added and changed this and that, and this is what came out of my pot. I was pretty pleased with it. We have dried beans at our store and I actually soaked them and used them for the first time ever! We Canadians don’t take our beans as seriously as our US neighbours do, generally speaking, although they are gradually making inroads into our fair country. And I still had a butternut squash here, so I chopped it into the soup as well. It added that special extra touch to the soup, I thought. I tossed a handful or three of fresh spinach into the pot at the very end, just to pretty it up and add more vitamins.

 

 

We have a great assortment of locally grown winter and greenhouse vegetables at Martins, as well as dried beans. My husband Steve does a great job of stocking our shelves with high quality produce to supplement our apples, pears and cider. 

I didn’t like beans as a child and would always pick them out and gift my sister with them. I have learned to like eating them in moderation and am intrigued by the many varieties. These are called Jacob’s Cattle after the biblical account where Jacob asked his conniving father-in-law for all the black, striped and spotted sheep, goats and cattle as his wages after working fourteen years for his bride Rachel. They are pretty and I liked the texture of them.

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. The recipes, views, and stories are my own. 

Tuscan Chicken, Bean, and Squash Soup

Ingredients

Tuscan Chicken, Bean and Squash Soup

  • 3 – 4 cups chicken broth or stock (your own or purchased)
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped or sliced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, unpeeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup of dry beans, soaked for 2 hours in boiling water, or 2 cups of canned beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped butternut squash
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon regular or smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence
  • 4 Roma or 2 medium beefsteak-type tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 – 4 cups chopped roasted chicken
  • 1 – 2 cups of washed fresh spinach leaves

Directions

In a large kettle, simmer broth, water, celery, carrots, onions, potatoes garlic, beans and all the seasonings. Add the squash cubes and tomatoes after about half an hour. Simmer at a low boil until the vegetables are soft but not mushy. Add chicken and spinach and heat for about 10 minutes more. Test for salt. As with most soups, it is even better the next day. Chase that chill away!

 

 

11 thoughts on “Tuscan Chicken, Bean, and Squash Soup

    Lorraine said:
    January 6, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    Oh, we must be kindred spirits. I’ve never heard of anybody else naming their GPS. That is a great name. When I went on a trip with friends we dubbed it George Peter Swartzentruber.

    Like

      rosekmartin responded:
      January 6, 2018 at 4:14 pm

      Oh, you have a boy GPS! I like George too.

      Like

    Cathryn said:
    January 7, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Looks warm and comforting.

    Like

      rosekmartin responded:
      January 7, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      That is one of the most appealing facets of soup, don’t you agree? Warm and comforting.

      Liked by 1 person

    gourmetmarichef said:
    January 7, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    this is fantastic!!

    Liked by 1 person

    Danette Martin said:
    January 11, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    It looks lovely and I am sure that it is marvelous in taste, too. Btw, I enjoy the stories you write as much as (or more than!) the recipes.

    Like

      rosekmartin responded:
      January 11, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks, Danette. I’m happy that you enjoy the stories. I certainly get great pleasure out of writing them!

      Like

    Jo said:
    January 24, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Oh! That place! One of my favourite memories. And yes to everything you said. I don’t remember your soup but I do know the food was delicious and artistically arranged..

    Like

      rosekmartin responded:
      January 24, 2018 at 8:00 am

      And the friendly welcome, both from hosts and crackling fire; it was such a lovely place. You found it, remember?

      Like

    Donna said:
    January 24, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Somehow I missed this post! I need to make this, it sounds delicious. Last night I made a red lentil soup.

    Like

      rosekmartin responded:
      January 24, 2018 at 6:57 pm

      How adventurous we are getting in our maturity, eh?

      Like

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