Oh, the things I love about soup … you can’t really mess them up … they’re a great way to use up random things you have in your fridge … vegetable soup in particular, you can adapt to your family’s taste … and, boy-howdy are leftovers great for lunch!

For the last 90 minutes, I’ve had our dinner simmering away on the stove while I’ve been watching a rerun of the last episode of Downton Abbey (I believe PBS is airing it in January).  You guys may have had Mad Men a couple of months before we did, but we’ve had Downton Abbey … which has, believe it or not, made up for it. 

At any rate, this is one of those recipes that I actually hate calling a “recipe” because that makes it sound so darned formal.  When it’s not.  I mean, it’s soup.  It’s something I hope you will look at and think, “that’s a good start, but I’d add more of this … or I’m not a big fan of that, so I’ll substitute something else.”  This is how I like it and these are the things I had in my fridge today.  Next time, I may add a little cabbage … or maybe some mushrooms … or even add a bit of chilli flakes at the beginning to give the broth a bit of a kick.  And just because I don’t add cream to it doesn’t mean you can’t.  Possibilities … doncha just love ’em …

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, small dice
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 large potato, peeled or diced (this week, I happened to use a 1/4 rutabaga that I happened to have lying around)
  • 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 1 small can of corn, drained
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 6 boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water

In a large pot over medium heat, add a glug of olive oil and saute the onions, carrots, celery and potatoes (personally, I add them as I chop – no need to do a lot of pre-cooking prep).  When the onions have become translucent and the other vegetables are starting to soften, add the broth and water, then proceed to add the remaining corn, tomatoes, chicken and herbs.  Bring to the boil, then let simmer at least 1 hour, checking for seasoning at about the 20 minute mark.   

Now, about the choice of chicken thighs rather than breast.  This is an issue of personal taste – while thighs have a little more fat than breast meat, they also have loads more flavor, which enhances the soup.  Additionally, they don’t get stringy the way breast meat does when it cooks for a long time.  So, if you’ve never tried using thigh meat in soup, give it a go – I think you’ll really like the result.

Now all we need is a grilled cheese sammich on the side ...