Chicken & White Bean Soup

I am so loving the onset of fall.  All the windows have been open for a week, allowing soft breezes to waft through the house and allowing the dog to sleep in the sunshine on the deck.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, April 2011.

No substitutions were made.

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Chicken & White Bean Soup

2 smoked bacon slices, chopped
12 oz skinless, bonless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 c chopped onion
1 garlic cloved, minced
1 c chopped plum tomato
2 tblsp chopped fresh oregano
2 c water
2 c fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 c uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)
1 15oz can organic white beans, rinsed and drained
2 tblsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tblsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt

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Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat 7 minutes or until crisp.  Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan; set bacon aside.

Add chicken to drippings in pan; saute 6 minutes.  Remove chicken from pan.  Add onion and garlic to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender.  Add tomato, oregano, and pepper; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Return bacon and chicken to pan.  Stir in water and broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Bring to a boil.  Add orzo and cook for 9 minutes or until al dente.  Add beans; cook 2 minutes or until heated.  Remove from heat; stir in parsley, vinegar, and salt.

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chicken and white bean 4

cartoon-strawberry-9The tomatoes, onions and oregano give this soup a strong flavor of bruschetta.  Cutting and trimming the chicken thighs took awhile, but the rest of the soup came together easily after that.  Enjoy this soup on a beautiful fall night.

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Magical White Bean Soup

bread&wine_cover_artI can’t remember how I stumbled upon Shauna’s first book, Cold Tangerines, but after my first read through I was hooked.  A woman writing openly and honestly about her delights and struggles in life.  I read her heart.  I read her joys.  I read her tears.  And in doing so, I felt like her friend.

Bread & Wine is a celebration of gathering around the table with our friends and family.  Whether for an impromptu birthday party, non-traditional holiday celebrations, or just to share a favorite cookie with our best friend.  Shauna challenged me to think on why I want to have friends and family around my own table, and the atmosphere I give them to live in while in my home.

Bread & Wine will be released on April 9th, but is available for pre-order now at Amazon.com.

What people are craving isn’t perfection.  People aren’t longing to be impressed; they’re longing to feel like they’re at home.  If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they’ll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd. – Shauna Niequist, Bread & Wine

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Magical White Bean Soup

This recipe was inspired by Nancy Silverton’s Tuscan White Bean Soup with prosciutto and Parmesan in her cookbook, A Twist of the Wrist.  I liked the idea of a thick bean soup with ribbons of prosciutto (for the meat eaters), a dusting of Parmesan (for the dairy eaters), and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.  Even though Nancy’s recipe calls for just olive oil, I’m in a serious balsamic phase, and I want it on everything – Bread and Wine.

Magical Bean Soup 1

Soup:
2 shallots, sliced
1/4 lb carrots, sliced into thin coins on a diagonal
1 blub fennel, sliced
4 celery ribs, sliced on a diagonal
6 can white beans in liquid (cannellini or great northern beans)
Salt and pepper to taste

Vinaigrette:
Dijon
Balsamic vinegar
Olive oil

For serving:
Prociutto, torn into ribbons
Parmesan, curled into strips with a vegetable peeler
1 tblsp rosemary, rough chopped

In a stockpot or dutch oven, soften two sliced shallots in olive oil over medium heat.  Add carrots, fennel and celery, allow to soften, 10 to 15 minutes.

Add beans in their liquid, cover and cook for 20 minutes at a gentle boil.

Taste, add salt and pepper, taste again – keep in mind that you’ll get a good amount of salt from the toppings.

Cook for an additional 20 minutes, or longer if you have time.  Off heat, mash with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon for a rustic, chunky texture.  If you’d like a smoother texture, run it through a food processor or use an immersion blender in the pot.

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Balsamic Vinaigrette:

Mix a spoonful of Dijon, a few tablespoons of balsamic, a quarter cup or so of olive oil, some salt and pepper in a glass jar, then shake well.  Adjust to taste – I usually like a 2:1 ratio of oil to vinegar and Dijon.

Serve with a small pitcher of vinaigrette, and bowls of prosciutto torn into ribbons, curls of Parmesan and shopped rosemary.

magical bean soup 4

cartoon-strawberry-9This soup is amazing.  Dense, rich and flavorful.  And I’m glad to have a “go to” recipe on hand for my friends and family who have dietary restrictions.

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shauna1Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac. Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life–friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.