Welcome to one of the easiest and tastiest soup recipes you will ever meet. Any soup that begins and ends with bacon has to be fabulous, no?
And aside from the minimal amount of bacon grease and the few slices of bacon swimming throughout the soup, this is a quick and healthy meal. The entire thing took about 45 minutes from start to finish, and the bacon produced an outrageous amount of flavor.
It is also packed with quite a few veggies too. A few more than I would like, but the soup ended up being so incredible that I slurped up every last drop. Sometimes veggies are worth it. Not often, but sometimes. Almost always when bacon is involved.
If you have chicken on hand, it is a big one-pot meal. Those are the best, aren’t they? Packed with protein and fiber too. And it’s another non-boring chicken dish! It really doesn’t get much better than this.
I didn’t have high expectations for this soup… in fact, I didn’t really have any expectations. I figured it would be an interesting experiment and a great way to use up the vegetables I had before they went to see the light in my crisper drawer. I certainly wasn’t expecting layers of flavor. I added the bacon to ensure that I would actually eat the soup, but I had no idea the magic that it would work.
Mr. How Sweet was shocked too. He had this soup late last night after he ate more food than humanly possible. He was still hungry. I live with a human garbage disposal.
You can easily make this a vegetarian dish by leaving out the bacon, using olive oil for the bacon grease, skipping the chicken and using vegetable stock. Of course you would be missing out on tons of delicious (bacon!) flavor, but I’m confident that a few more spices could do the trick.
I was actually impressed at how fabulous the chickpeas tasted once added to the onion, pepper, spinach and mushroom mixture. I may eat that alone for lunch one day.
And I really can’t think of one single way to make this soup better.
But a little garnish of cheese can’t hurt.
I’m guessing that it is going to taste even better today, when all the flavors have married. Soup for breakfast anyone?
serves approximately 6-8, depending on your serving sizes
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cups raw spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 cup chopped carrots
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 25-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
24 ounces low-sodium chicken stock
Preheat a large pot on medium heat. Add chopped bacon and fry until brown and crispy. While bacon is frying, chop vegetables and prep chicken. You have 3 options for the chicken – you can either bake it while the bacon + veggies are sauteing, you can pan-fry it while the bacon + veggies are sauteing, or you can use pre-made/leftover shredded chicken in the soup. Either way, take the time while the bacon is frying to get the chicken ready.
Once bacon is done, remove and drain on a paper towel. Keeping heat on medium, add onions, mushrooms and peppers to bacon grease and saute until soft, about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic, spinach, paprika and cumin and stir for 60 seconds. Turn heat down to low and add chickpeas, celery, carrots and chicken. Pour in chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
If you make one dish this week, this has to be it. You could even sub turkey if you have the leftovers. I can’t though. Turkey is Mr. How Sweet’s appetizer.
I wish I was joking.