Anyone else a sucker for soup? I don’t mean wimpy call your Grandma for the not-so-secret family recipe of canned stuff. I am talking what your Grandma actually made. Gather round the pot with a big ol’ ladle, real soup. Packed with everything or anything the pantry had tucked away. Nothing from a can.
I’ll be the first to admit, I am in an abusive soup relationship. I love robust soups that use up the seasonal produce and weeknight leftovers all winter long and then drop it like a bad habit the day I bust out my flip flops all like yay, a hot dog. The first snap of cool weather and I am all in all over again like an addict. Lucky for me, it’s cheap and healthy, so I’ll take it.
There’s nothing stopping me for indulging in soup 365, but man, those first couple of batches when the skies get gray and dusk sets on a little sooner on the horizon and my bowl is a thing of magic. And this, this was one of those moments. This creamy chicken soup is a compromise between a full-on cheese bath and a broth base that makes the taste buds happy and the hips not immediately cry out for the yoga pants. It’s loaded with hefty potatoes and broccoli to keep you fueled and going all night long. Or just long enough to wrap up in a fluffy blanket and burrow your hibernation hole a little deeper. Whatever gets you through the season.
Either way, you’ll be back for seconds.
- 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lbs chicken, diced into 1/2" pieces
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 - 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teas dry mustard
- 1/2 teas smoked paprika
- 1/8 teas red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 2 - 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 cups chicken broth, low sodium
- 1 cup milk
- 1 - 2 heads broccoli, chopped (even dice up the stems)
- 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar (mix in varieties that you have on hand. I used a sharp, Dubliner, and Skelling)
- In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat 1 tbs oil. Brown the chicken on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the onions and celery until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour, mustard, paprika, red pepper flakes, and pinch of salt and pepper over top and cook for 1 minute, stirring the whole time. Add in the thyme (either plucked or as a sprigs to pull out before serving). Carefully, whisk in a bit of the milk. The flour will quickly absorb it. Whisk in the remaining milk slowly so that no lumps form. When smooth, whisk in the broth, in a slow steady stream. Add the potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook fork 10 minutes. Add in the broccoli and the reserved chicken, along with any juices, and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Lower heat to medium-low (if a simmer doesn't have you there already) and stir in the cheese. Stir until completely melted.
- Serve with a garnish of thyme and more cheese if desired.