I can't believe it has been almost a month since I last posted a recipe! YIKES! Life has been crazy busy with homeschooling and cementing potty training (My daughter is finally in panties full-time! Hurrah!), church things, family things...And, unfortunately, that has not left a lot of time for blogging. I am hoping as the weather gets better (*fingers crossed* Here's hoping!), my time will free up a little more so that I can share the recipes I have piling up for you all more often!
Anyway, if you live anywhere where there is a ton of ice and snow (and probably will be for months yet) like I do, soup - especially a good, hardy one - is what you desire more than anything. It has the ability to warm you body and soul and it makes you forget (for a little while) the nastiness that is outside.
This recipe is my take on a recipe that I got from my Granny. Her recipe calls for canned soups and Velveeta which aren't exactly the best choices, though very delicious (Don't worry, all - she knows it's true, and I will be sharing this version with her so she has an alternative.). I wanted to come up with a recipe that tasted like hers but was allergy-friendly and better for you. This is the result. This recipe is soy (if you use all soy-free ingredients), nut, egg and fish-free and can be milk and wheat-free (see variations). I hope you enjoy it!
And just as a side note, my 11-year-old who HATES broccoli LOVES this (and even eats the broccoli!). That should tell you a lot about the flavor. So, even if your family says they hate green veggies, have them give this a try. You all may be pleasantly surprised! :)
Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Soup
2/3 Cup full-fat, salted butter
3/4 Cup onion, diced into bite-sized pieces
(white, purple, yellow or green onion are all fine)
3/4 Cup grated carrots
3/4 Cup celery, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2/3 Cup soy-free flour
4 Cups soy-free chicken stock (I recommend Kitchen Basics)
3 Cups milk
1 to 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped into bite-sized pieces or shredded
1 (16 oz) package frozen broccoli pieces
(can use equivalent amount of fresh broccoli chopped into bite-sized pieces instead of frozen)
1 to 2 Cups potatoes, diced into bite-sized pieces
(peeled or not is up to you, though I recommend peeling if you are using Russets, and unpeeled if you are using Red, White or Yellow potatoes)
1 1/4 to 2 Cups shredded cheese (I use Cheddar, CoJack or Mexican Blend)
1 Cup soy-free sour cream (I recommend Daisy brand)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
- In a large stock pot, melt the butter and then saute the onion, carrots, celery, parsley flakes and paprika until the onions are clear. (Note: You can substitute chopped, fresh parsley for the parsley flakes if you wish. The amount you use of fresh parsley is based on personal preference.)
- Whisk in the flour until well-blended.
- Gradually stir in the chicken stock and milk until well-blended.
- Stir in the chicken, broccoli and potatoes and bring mixture to a boil. (Note: Which amount of chicken and potatoes you use is totally up to you and how hardy you want the soup to be. Also, the smaller you cut your potatoes, the faster they will cook. I recommend cutting your potatoes into a slightly smaller dice than your broccoli so that they finish at the same time. Also, if you use fresh broccoli, it tends to cook a little faster than frozen (5 to 10 minutes vs. 10 to 20 minutes), so you probably want to add it when the potatoes are about 1/2 done (they normally take about 15 to 20 minutes to cook). )
- Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 20 minutes or until the broccoli and potatoes are done, stirring often.
- Stir in the cheese (which amount you use is based on personal preference), sour cream, salt and pepper and cook (stirring often) until the cheese is melted.
This recipe feeds a family of 5 easily with left-overs.
Variations (Please keep your individual dietary needs in mind when using substitutions. Thank you!):
- Milk-Free: Use dairy-free butter, sour cream, milk and cheese (SoDelicious, Earth Balance and Melt are some good allergy-friendly brands, and you can check out some more here) or just leave any or all of them out. If you leave the milk-out, you will need to up the stock amount to 7 Cups. There will be no cheese flavor, obviously, if you leave out the cheese, but it will still be a great chicken and broccoli soup.
- Wheat-Free/Gluten-Free: Leave out the flour (which will leave your soup a little thinner, but still tasty) or use cornstarch or other gluten-free flour/thickener in place of the flour.
- Vegan/Vegetarian Options: If you are vegan/vegetarian, you can leave out the chicken and substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock. You can also leave out all of the milk products, as mentioned above.
- Less/Different Veggies: If you do not like potatoes, you can definitely leave them out. If you don't like broccoli, you can definitely leave it out or substitute another green veggie (i.e. kale, spinach) in its place. If you can't have or don't like onions or celery, you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon celery salt for the celery and/or 1/2 teaspoon onion salt for the onion. If you like garlic, you can add a minced clove or 2 or even up to 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt to the recipe.
- Using Fresh vs. Cooked Chicken: If you want to use fresh chicken vs. cooked chicken, just chop it up as directed and add it in step 1 with the onion, carrots, celery, parsley flakes and paprika, cooking until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are clear before adding the flour.
- Other Meats: You can substitute ham for the chicken or even use bacon (though I'd sprinkle it on top at the end rather than stir it in with the broccoli).
So hardy and delicious with so many options! What's not to love?
What is your favorite soup/stew/chili to warm up with on a cold day?
What's your favorite winter meal?