It’s officially Fall, which is my ultimate favorite time in the kitchen. Last week we made a simple minestrone, which actually provided us with two days worth of meals. We tried to eat super light before my parents came to town, knowing that we would be dining out and overindulging once they arrived. Minestrone is one of the quickest soups to make, and you really can’t screw it up. Honestly, you can’t! The best part is that it never gets old, because you can tweak the ingredients every time. We threw in some chicken thighs, instead of our usual breasts, to give it a slightly different taste, and kept it very light with vegetables. My best advice for soups is to never over spice while it’s hot, because the spices come out more once it cools down. We generally don’t measure our spices for soups, but just constantly go back and add dashes of this and that as we go.
We had a really great weekend with my parents visiting. Lots of laughs, really great eats at our two favorite restaurants in the city (Raouls and Flex Mussels), and plenty of Char time. We couldn’t have asked for better walking weather and spent quite a lot of time on our feet exploring the UES/central park.
Chicken Thigh Minestrone: serves 6
- 1 lb of chicken thighs; sliced into bite size chunks
- 1 large can of diced tomatoes (32 oz)
- 1/2 carton of chicken stock
- 4 large celery sticks, chopped (you want the vegetables to all be sliced or chopped into medium/bite size chunks)
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 1 bunch of swiss chard (or kale if you prefer), torn apart into smaller bunches
- 2 large zucchinis, chopped
- 2 large yellow squash, chopped
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of any pasta (we used tiny Orecchiette noodles).
- a few table table spoons of garlic powder, cumin, oregano, fennel, dill, chili flakes, chili powder, salt, ground pepper (start with 2 table spoons, then adjust/add more depending on flavor). I swear I basically just use the entire spice cabinet.
- 2 quick dashes of hot sauce
- Generously salt & pepper the chicken thighs, then sear in a frying pan over high heat with 1 tsp olive oil, ~3-4 mins per side. Don’t worry about under cooking the thighs, as they will finish cooking in the soup, so only need to be mostly done. Once finished, remove and set aside as you prepare the rest of the soup;
- In a large soup pot, saute onions and garlic with 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat until tender, ~5 mins.
- Add carrots, zucchini, squash, and celery (any other vegetables) to the pot and keep sauteing for ~5 mins, adding olive oil if need be.
- Return the chicken (chopped) to the pot, and add the diced tomato and chicken stock, bringing to a boil.
- Add spices to your liking.
- Reduce to a simmer. While this cooks, on another burner, boil water for the pasta noodles. Once the pasta is cooked, set aside until very end (we like to keep the pasta separate, so that it doesn’t get bloated while sitting in the soup in case you want to save the leftovers the next day.)
- After about 15 minutes, everything should be pretty tender.
- Right before serving, add the swiss chard to the soup (make sure the red stems are torn off). They tend to shrivel up A LOT , so I always add the entire bunch. Cook ~2 mins.
- We usually just put the noodles in our own bowls, then add the soup to the bowl.
Here’s a video of Char running for sticks in the park (Nick says it’s his favorite video yet! Chasing branches) After this day, I realized it was time for some real tennis shoes. Her poor moccasins were covered in mud.