I have gone away from tradition. My soup repertoire is a lot different than it was five even ten years ago. Making chicken noodle soup was an event, tomato soup came from a can eh-hmm. We were doing mighty fine with a family recipe of beef vegetable soup handed down from my Grandmother. At the time my two Grandmothers and one Great Grandmother had their certain flavorings to this recipe, one added barley, one loved stewed tomatoes, and Great Grandma did not. Great Grandma always got her bowl, tomato free.
What I have learned thru the years in my cooking adventures is soup does not come from a can. There I said it; I am a child of the seventies and Campbell kid adoptee. Its fair to say, I was brought up in the microwave age. So, when the soup was cooking in a pot, it was a day-long ritual of love. Kind of like when my Dad would take over the kitchen for his chili special, we knew something special was going to go in that was a real surprise. I’m not talking stewed tomatoes either.
What I fell in love about this Rustic Chicken Stew/Soup is the smell. I never considered paprika a spice for something “wet.” I always put it on my tomatoes and cottage cheese or hummus. But paprika in this recipe is delightful.
The other thing that made my day is that my husband ate it. Two bowls and knowing his particular dislike for onions has been okay with it ever since. Also, I can say it tastes even better a day or two later. Soup for everyone! Wait, I know I am challenged by this soup/stew. It’s both so for clarity sake Stews ON!
Rustic Chicken Stew
Yield 8 servings
- One 5-6 lb. chicken
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2-3 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper, divided
- One bay leaf
- 4 stalks celery, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- One large onion, diced
- Five medium red potatoes, sliced
- 1 15-oz. can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 4 Roma tomatoes halved lengthwise and sliced
Place whole chicken in a large dutch oven or pot with water, chicken broth, one teaspoon salt and pepper each. Add one bay leaf and cover to a simmer over med. Low heat for an hour.
Remove chicken and let cool. Strain broth and add back to your pot.
Return broth to a boil and add rest of ingredients except the bird. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes. The smell is going to intoxicate you. The addition of the beans here give it a nice stew-oup consistency and added protein.
While the stew is stewing, remove skin and bones from chicken. I like to chop in nice bite-size bits. Set aside until the 45 minutes is up. Then stir in the chicken and cover pot. Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes.
Serve this fantastic fall stew with some good old garlic focaccia bread. I promise this beats chicken noodle soup any day!