Adding kale along with a Parmesan rind dropped in the soup and bit of garlic for an Italian flair turns chicken soup into a luscious treat, especially topped with a spoonful of Parmesan. The orecchiette (“little ear”) pasta gives the soup a toothsome texture, perfect for making this a dinner in itself. I occasionally roast two whole chickens, using leftovers for stock to freeze and have on hand for an easy chicken noodle and kale soup like this one.
- Yield: 4 to 6 Servings
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 1 Parmesan rind
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced (about 1½ cups)
- 3 cups kale (about ½ bunch, stripped from stalks, chopped into bite-size pieces, and rinsed)
- 2 cups roasted chicken (see page 48 for quick roasting), diced or shredded into medium pieces
- 8 ounces orecchiette pasta
- Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, for garnish
- In a soup pot on medium-high heat, sauté the onion in the olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds, stirring to keep it from browning. Add the stock, Parmesan rind, celery, carrots, and salt, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add the kale and continue to simmer, partially covered, for another 10 to 15 minutes, until tender.
- Meanwhile, fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, shake to release the steam, and add a little olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking. Shake again to distribute.
- When the kale is cooked (try a piece), add the chicken. Check for additional seasoning. If the soup tastes bland, simply add more salt and watch the flavors pop. Remove and discard the Parmesan rind. Ladle the soup, and pass the Parmesan.