Friday, October 29, 2010

Chicken and White Bean Soup

Beans are one of those "questionable foods" when it comes to the Paleo lifestyle.  It's a whole food that comes from nature but some question the likelihood that cavemen actually ate them - they do take a while to harvest and cook.

Personally, beans and I have a love-hate relationship.  I love them, my body hates them.  OK, maybe not HATE but they do give, you know the old chant, "Beans, beans, a wondrous fruit..."  So, I rarely eat them these day.  When I do, it's usually as a filler for a soup, like the "Chicken and White Bean Soup" I made a few days ago.

Since we're getting into Fall, prime soup and stew season, I want to share with you my recipe for this yummy soup...but first I must warn you about something: I am not a "cups and teaspoons" type of cook.  When I make up new recipes (baking excluded), I toss a little of this and a bit of that into the pot until I get the taste and consistency I want.  This can drive some people, you have been warned!


Anne's Chicken and White Bean Soup

  • 2 cups of uncooked white beans OR 2 cans of cooked white beans
  • 3 tablespoons of your fav cooking oil or butter
  • onion, diced
  • garlic, smashed and chopped fine
  • carrots, diced
  • celery, diced
  • cooked chicken, diced
  • about 6 cups of chicken broth (add more or less depending on how liquid-y you like your soup)
  • Seasoning - salt, pepper, cumin, paprika.
  1. Cook the beans, following the instructions on the bag.  Drain and put aside. (If you're using canned beans, drain and rinse well before setting aside)
  2. In a large stew pot, saute the garlic and onion in the oil or butter over medium heat until the onions are almost translucent.
  3. Add celery and carrots, stir and put top on.  Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring every once in a while (you don't want them to burn).
  4. Add cooked chicken - stir.
  5. Add beans - stir
  6. Add spices (I usually add about 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and a sprinkle of paprika, salt and pepper....and then season to taste at the end) - stir.
  7. Cover and let this combination of veggies, protein, beans, and spices cook for a few minutes - this helps the spices "mature" and cook into the chunky stuff.
  8. Add the broth, stir, cover, and bring it to a boil.
  9. Once it's at a boil, reduce heat and let it cook until the carrots are at the consistency you like.  I like my soft - they soak in my homemade chicken broth and taste like heaven!
  10. Serve and enjoy!
  • Sometimes I add the beans when they're al-dente and let the soup boil for a while.  This not only cooks the beans but concentrates the flavors of the broth.  This is not recommended when you're using canned chicken broth - reducing that salt-laden stuff will turn your soup into a "salt lick".
  • Make extra - this tastes great the 2nd and 3rd day AND it freezes well.  Sometimes, I'll make a big pot of paleo-friendly soup and then freeze the leftovers for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.
  • This is a pretty versatile recipe and pretty hard to screw up (unless you add too much salt - yuck!). Feel free to experiment - add other vegetables and spices.  Add less broth and more vegetables to make a "stew".  Mix in a thickener, toss into a baking dish, add a gluten-free bread topping for a yummy "chicken pie" sort of recipe.  There's lots of possibilities!  Have fun!

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