What should you do with all of those wonderful summer zucchini squash you’ve got from the local farmers market or your family’s backyard garden? Most people would say to make zucchini bread, which I think is an absolutely fabulous idea! But, I also think making soup is another great idea, too, and I mean a hearty one!
I love this type of weather we’re having right now near Chicago- that steamy hot and humid and wet summer is nearing its end (I hope) and it’s cooling down just enough so I can start to imagine wearing my favorite tall boots, turtlenecks and sweaters again. I just love wrapping myself up and having something nice and warm to eat like a bowl of soup, but not when it’s too cold so this soup is a great reminder that we’re still able to enjoy the hot summer vegetables, too. The addition of chicken makes it a real meal that can be satisfied by itself with a bit of rustic bread or tortillas on the side, whichever you like more.
It uses up about 3 large zucchini and makes about 8 servings, which is quite a lot. I add one Yukon gold potato because they’re soft and cook fairly quickly but they also add starch to the soup, which thickens it slightly.
To make it, I cook the chicken in a separate pan because it’s just easier and cleaner to pull out and chop that way. The first recipe I tested, I used split chicken breast pieces then once they were cooled I de-boned the meat and then shredded it with a fork. The next test I did differently and it was much better. I used boneless skinless chicken breast, boiled it and then once removed from the water and cooled, I chopped it finely with a knife.
The result is that it was so much better because in every bit of the soup there is a generous amount of chicken, which I know most people love. It’s also rich in broth because I used the water that I boiled the chicken in, AND a carton of the Artisan Roasted Chicken Broth by Saffron Road.
The basic ingredients are simple and easy to get – in addition to what I mentioned, I also added garlic, frozen spinach, salt, pepper and a bit of fresh parsley. At the end, I topped it off with Parmesan cheese (you can find varieties that are suitable for vegetarians at Trader Joe’s stores), which I have to do because that satisfies the Italian in me…
And so does this soup- it’s hearty and rich in flavor yet it’s inexpensive, easy to make and fairly quick. You could easily pre-chop al the ingredients (zucchini, garlic and potato) then come home after work and make it in no time. Seriously…that’s how good home cooking should be, right?
- 3 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 1/2 cups broth from the cooked chicken
- 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Yukon gold potato, peeled and diced. [Be sure to dry very well before cooking]
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
- 3 zucchini, peeled and diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley (optional)
- 1 box of Saffron Road Artisan Roasted Chicken Broth (5 cups)
- 1 pound chopped frozen spinach
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- In a small saucepan, boil the chicken in about 3 cups of water. Let cook for about 20 minutes, covered over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, in a large soup pan or Dutch oven, gently heat the olive oil. Once warmed, add the diced potato. salt and pepper. (The salt helps to prevent the potato from sticking to the pan).
- Saute for about 2-3 minutes, or until they are softened and slightly browned on each side.
- Add the zucchini and garlic and fresh parsley, if using.
- Remove the cooked chicken and put onto a plate to let cool slightly. Once cooled, use a chef's knife to chop it into small pieces.
- To the large pot of vegetables, add the water from the boiled chicken, the entire box of Saffron Road's Artisan Roasted Chicken Broth, and the chopped chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and add the frozen spinach.
- Cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until the spinach is thoroughly cooked.
- Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.
- This soup is nice and hearty and goes well with crusty French or Italian bread or even a handful of hot corn tortillas, which can be dipped into the bowl of soup for added flavor.
- Use fresh spinach for frozen, if you have it.
- If you have bone-in chicken, you can use that, too. Just be sure to remove all bones before putting into the soup and chop the meat finely or shred it into small pieces before adding to the pot of soup.