feasting at home: Kale, Chickpea and Chicken Soup with Rosemary Croutons

February 1, 2013

Kale, Chickpea and Chicken Soup with Rosemary Croutons

Last week a friend left me with mounds and mounds of kale. Like soldiers, we have been munching our way through it, in every imaginable way, determined not to let any go to waste. I feel as if my skin has taken on a greenish hue.  Another friend introduced me to these lovely little garbanzo beans, grown right here in the Palouse. And with the leftover chicken from my last posta beautiful marriage was formed.  Served with flavorful rosemary garlic croutons, this was a delicious comforting meal.

One of the reasons I love roasting whole chickens is because it provides an extra bonus meal the next day. Soup. This has become a highly anticipated tradition in our household. The leftover carcass is put into a pot and simmered with water, a few vegetables and herbs to create a rich flavorful stock. And starting with good flavorful stock, as you know, is one of the secrets to making a really good flavorful soup. 

What a satisfying feeling. The not wasting, the re-purposing, the creating something out of, not much. If however, you are not into chickens, this could easily be made vegan, by substituting the chicken stock with a flavorful vegetable broth and leaving out the meat. Please, though, do not leave out the croutons. These are essential.

What I first noticed about these amazing little Pedrosillano CafĂ© Garbanzo Beans (or chickpeas) was their size. They are tiny. But after an overnight soaking, they double in size. They have thin skin and a really creamy interior, making them a perfect candidate for hummus, because of their exceptionally smooth texture and nuttily flavor.  They are also great for soups. And I have to say is, I loved them so much we started selling them at our store, Bowl and Pitcher!  Who wouldn't want a bag of these as a gift….I know I would.

Pacific Northwest Farmers Cooperative (also known as PNW) is dedicated to preserving 100-year-old family farms in eastern Washington and northern Idaho, rooted in sustainable agriculture. These family farms protect and nurture their land through crop rotation, cover cropping, and reducing toxic chemicals and fossil fuels. These practices allow PNW Co-op to offer incredibly healthy and delicious garbanzo beans, lentils and split peas.

One cup of these dried chickpeas, soaked overnight more than doubled in volume.

While the soup is simmering, make flavorful garlic rosemary sourdough croutons.

Brush a mixture of rosemary, garlic and olive oil  on both sides of very thinly sliced sourdough bread, and toast in the oven until crispy.

To make this soup, I created chicken stock out of our left over whole chicken from last week's whole harissa chicken.  I simmered it in water with carrots, onion, celery and fresh herbs for about 2 hours. You could use store bought stock. Then I strained the stock, set it aside, and salvaged all the chicken meat off the carcass that I could- which ended up being about two cups. 

To make the soup: In a heavy bottomed pot,  saute the onion, garlic and rosemary. Add the strained chicken stock, bay leaves, the soaked garbanzo beans and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until beans are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the chicken and kale. You could also add andouille sausage.

I sliced and browned 2 andouille sausages and added this to the soup with the chicken and kale to give it an extra heartiness and spiciness.

Simmer 10 minutes. Add salt, cracked pepper, soy sauce and a light squeeze of lemon. Taste for salt ( I ended up using  a total of 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt).  Remember, the rosemary croutons will add a lot of flavor.

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Chicken, Kale and Chickpea Soup with Rosemary Croutons

Ingredients and Instructions:

1 cup dry garbanzo beans soaked overnight ( or 1 can of garbanzo's rinsed and strained.)
2 Quarts flavorful chicken stock (8 cups) or veggie stock
1 Cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2 T fresh rosemary
2-4 Cups chopped kale
1-2 cups cooked chicken -shredded or cut into bite sized pieces.
1 to 1 1/2 tsp salt
cracked pepper
chile flakes (optional) add if going vegan
squeeze of lemon
1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 links andouille sausage - sliced and browned (optional, but delicious!)

Saute onion in 2 T olive oil on med heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary. Saute 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, garbanzo beans and bay leaves, bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low heat until beans are tender, about 30 minutes. Add chicken, cooked andouie sausage and chopped kale. Simmer 10 minutes. Add salt, cracked pepper, soy sauce and a light squeeze of lemon. Taste for salt ( I ended up using a total of 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt). Remember, the rosemary croutons will add a lot of flavor.

Rosemary Croutons:
1/2 loaf Sourdough bread, sliced very thinly (sourdough bread is best for this recipe.. the "sourness" is actually really good with the soup)

in a small bowl mix:
olive oil 4 T
2 Garlic cloves, finely minced
1 T fresh rosemary leaves
Brush on both sides of bread and stick on a baking sheet in a 375 F oven until crisp and golden 15-20 minutes.

Cook time:  45 minutes (with pre-made stock, and pre soaked beans) Yield: 4-6 servings