I think it’s more than a coincidence that cooler fall weather inspires us to make soup and I usually get a fall cold. Soup and colds, they’re a good match. Yesterday I gave in on day four of my fall cold and stayed home from the office. My voice was mostly gone and as I spend a great deal of my day on the phone, I had to stay home and say “uncle”. Or rather, I croaked it.
After sleeping for hours and hours, I wanted soup. I had several kinds of soups in the freezer but I had a burst of energy and decided to make a fresh kettle. I’d do a “Chopped” episode and use what I had lurking in my fridge and see what came of it. I found a recipe to use as a guide then modified it beyond recognition. My usual routine.
My in-laws had given me a bag of carrots from their garden and had even suggested I might want to use the large ones in one of the soups I always make. With that suggestion still in my mind, I pulled them out of the fridge and sliced them up. They’d be the base of my soup.
Putting the carrots into a big soup pot with 10 cups of chicken broth, I brought them to a boil and then reduced the heat to medium to cook until they were fork tender, about an hour. Mine were fairly thickly sliced so they took longer. Your cooking time may vary.
While the carrots were cooking I diced up 6 strips of thick cut bacon and browned it in a large skillet. Just before they were fully browned, I added a cup of diced onion and let them fry with the bacon, about 4 or 5 minutes more.
With the pot of soup bubbling and the skillet sizzling, I pulled 4 leftover chicken thighs out of the fridge and removed the meat from the bones. I roughly chopped the meat and set it aside in a container.
I also pulled a bunch of broccoli out of the fridge and cut it into smaller pieces. I even cut the stems into large matchsticks and added them to the bowl. I ended up with about 4 cups of broccoli pieces.
For my final ingredient, which contrary to the “Chopped” basket was my fifth food, I dug two cans of white beans out of the pantry cupboard. They would be my bonus ingredient since they only put 4 ingredients in the basket that must be used on the cooking show. I opened the cans of cannellini and rinsed them well, then set them aside.
When the carrots were tender I removed them from the stove and used my immersion blender to puree the pot of carrots. I added 2 cups of water to thin it, as the liquid had reduced down somewhat as they boiled. I debated adding milk or cream but decided to keep it dairy-free since I had a cold. I don’t know if it’s a wives tale that avoiding milk during a cold is a good idea; it just seemed like a good idea to follow that tale just in case. When I have a cold, I’m willing to try almost anything to relieve the symptoms!
I added the rest of the ingredients and seasonings, stirred the soup well and set the heat to medium low to let it simmer for about 20 minutes. That allowed the broccoli to cook until it was just tender. I stirred it a few times, making sure it wasn’t all sticking to the bottom and burning.
After 20 minutes I taste tested for seasoning and added about a half teaspoon more salt. By then my P.S., who also has this nasty cold, was home and ready to have an early dinner and head to bed. I served the soup hot with sweet Hawaiian dinner rolls for dipping into the broth.
The soup was excellent! My P.S. said it was more of a chowder, but I disagreed since it didn’t have any milk or cream in it, which I think is what makes a soup a chowder. Whatever we call it, the soup was hearty and tasty. I love carrot soup so using the carrots as the base was a great idea. Having the broccoli and white beans for texture made it feel more of a solid meal. And of course having the bacon and chicken gave it extra protein and flavors that melded with the veggies.
I’ll be freezing several portions, as it made quite a large pot of soup. I’ll save it for the next cold that rolls our way. Hopefully not soon.
Carrot Broccoli White Bean Soup
6 strips thick cut bacon; diced
1 medium onion; diced
3# carrots, cut into chunks
1# broccoli with stems; cut into florets and chunks (about 4 cups)
10 cups chicken broth
2 cans white beans
4 chicken thighs; meat removed and chopped, bones discarded
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup dry sherry
In a large kettle, add the chicken broth and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium high heat and cook until tender, about an hour with larger chunks. Test with a fork for doneness.
Fry the diced bacon in a skillet until it is almost completely browned; add diced onion and fry for 4 or 5 more minutes. Set aside.
Using a immersion blender, puree the carrots. Alternatively you could use a blender and puree it in batches, being careful with the hot liquid that tends to blast the top off the blender!
Return pureed carrots in soup pot to the stove. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes, testing the broccoli stem pieces for doneness with a fork.
Taste test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
8 – 10 servings
Adapted from My Recipes