Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tripping All the Way to Tuscan-Inspired White Bean, Kale and Chicken Soup

Tuscan-Inspired White Bean, Kale & Chicken Soup
I bought a huge, and I mean huge, bag of Kale on Monday and was determined to make something warm and satisfying by the way of soup. I had also just watched a travel show about Tuscany and the flavors, herbs and scents of that region and I wanted them in my food. It was inspiring, I was inspired and I got cooking. The ingredients you need to incorporate those flavors aren't all that hard to get, they are simple, clean, fresh and you probably have most or all of them on hand. This is not a heavy soup, it is hearty in flavor, but it will not weigh you down. The Hub had seconds, he is my eternal "meter"! When he has seconds I know I hit a home run! So come along with me and let's get tripping to Tuscany.

Serves 6 as a meal and 8 as a starter.

1 pound chicken* thighs, diced into bite size pieces, about 1", sprinkled with salt and pepper and a teaspoon of Tuscan seasoning mix (recipe follows at the end)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, quartered and diced
2 celery stalks, halved and diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons Tuscan seasoning mix (recipe follows at the end)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, stems removed and discarded, leaves chopped
A palm full of fresh thyme, stems removed and discarded, leaves chopped

8-10 basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
4 cups cooked cannelini beans or 2 - 15 oz canned cannelini beans
4 cups chicken stock, either homemade or low sodium carton of stock
3 cups of water
Red pepper flakes to taste
7-8 cups of kale
Lemon wedges

Heat an enamel coated, cast iron dutch oven or heavy bottomed soup pot over medium heat, once hot add 1 tablespoon olive oil and chicken thighs pieces. Be sure to work in batches to lightly brown pieces and to avoid braising. Set aside chicken once it's all been browned. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to pan, allow to heat so that oil is shimmering in pan but not smoking. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and salt, stir frequently, cook for 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Stir in the rosemary, thyme and basil, allowing to cook for an additional 2 minutes, then add the Tuscan seasoning mix. Stir and cook 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and any juices from the chicken to the pot along with 1/4 cup of white wine to deglaze pan, add all of the remaining ingredients up to and including the kale. Bring to a rolling boil, and then lower to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes. Halfway through cooking time taste for seasoning and adjust to taste as needed.

To serve ladle into deep bowls, squeeze a wedge of lemon into soup and accompany with thinly sliced, buttered and toasted baguette for dipping. ENJOY!

Recipe notes:
I brined the chicken, as I almost always do, for added flavor and juiciness. Click here for more on brining.
This is a broth-like soup, if you like a "thicker broth" ladle about a cup of vegetables, beans and chicken and blend down using an immersion stick blender. Stir back into the soup.

Tripping Tuscan Seasoning Mix:

8 teaspoons dried oregano
4 teaspoons sweet smoked Spanish paprika
2 teaspoons ground fennel
4 teaspoons granulated garlic
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt

Place all ingredients in a coffee grinder, and grind until its a fine powder. Transfer to airtight container or spice bottle. When you use the dry mix be sure to add fresh rosemary, thyme and basil, to capture and infuse the flavors of Tuscan cooking.


  1. This is a superb recipe Jackie! It's filling, it's full of flavors and it's also healthy!
    Bravo, excellent work!
    The weather isn't appropriate for a soup here (36 d.Celsius during the last days), but this is bookmarked for the Fall;)
    Again, bravo! Have a great weekend!
    Panos and Mirella

    1. It's really quite good I hope you get around to trying it come the fall!

  2. Yum, this sounds like my kind of comfort food. Sounds delicious. I love the Tuscan seasoning.

    1. It's a great soup, often requested by the Hub. Hope you have a chane to try it. Thanks for commenting!