I’m not really quite sure how to say this, so I’m just gonna run with it.
I actually wanted to eat asparagus. For the first time ever, I wanted to taste something green and stem-like with little weird cowlicks at the top.
That’s a lot of vegetables up there, in case you didn’t notice.
I wanted this asparagus in soup. I had visions of it’s pointy little heads swimming in broth, drizzled with olive oil and blanketed with parmesan cheese. I didn’t want to eat it in the way that you want to eat green stuff because it’s May and sandy summer shores are quickly approaching and it would be waaay too hot to trample the beach in old college sweatpants. Not sexy.
I wanted it because I thought it sounded good.
So I chopped some onions and some mushrooms and even carrots and the asparagus and got some chicken and cute, tiny noodles and lots of cheese.
And I sauteed most of that stuff in bacon grease. Oh yeah… there’s that.
See? Always a silver lining here.
It was delicious. It warmed my soul, which was definitely needed since it’s been raining here since I was born. It didn’t make me want to toss my cookies. I added beans. Chubby, soft white beans. And lime. Sound weird? It’s not. It’s mandatory. Itty, bitty adorable noodles too. And pecorino romano? Please. Like you even need to ask.
This soup was light, refreshing and hearty all at the same time. It was a little smoky and a little bright; it had a touch of savory cheesiness and a pop of cilantro. Cilantro not your thing? Add some basil. Or parsley. Or tarragon. And you can skip that whole bacon thing but I’m telling you, it makes the soup. And just so you know, if that happens we may have to have words later.
Spring Chicken Soup
serves 4-6 +
2 slices of bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups raw spinach
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
12 asparagus spears, chopped into 1 1/2 inch pieces
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 1/4 cups ditalini pasta (or another short/small pasta)
the zest of half a lime
1/3 cup parmesan or romano cheese, grated
for garnish: fresh cilantro, grated romano cheese, avocado, green onions, fresh baguette slices or croutons
Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add chopped bacon. Cook under fat is rendered and bacon is crispy, then remove bacon with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Add onions and mushrooms to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in garlic, carrots and asparagus and cook for 5 minutes more. Add in salt, pepper and spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add in shredded chicken, beans, and chicken broth. Pour in pasta and bring soup to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Stir in lime zest and cheese.
Serve hot with additional cheese, avocado, lots of cilantro and green onions. Add a toasted baguette on the side.
Note: feel free to add additional stock/water if desired. This recipe produces a soup with just a little broth; if you prefer more, add an additional 2 cups or so.
P.S. I have a cheese problem. But I don’t think it’s apparent or anything.