We thought we moved somewhere warmer, but we've been fooled!! It's been COLD! Apparently unusually cold. Go figure!
When the temperature drops, what's your comfort food? I automatically turn to soup. There's nothing like a bowl full of hot, savory soup to warm you up on a cold dark night.
So when the cold weather struck, soup it was!
This Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup has got it all—creamy broth, chunky chicken, nutty farro, a hint of lemon juice, depths of flavor and just enough greens to know they're there but not too many that you wish they weren't.
We ate the whole pot of soup for dinner. THE WHOLE POT. It was phenomenal! A real winner of a recipe. I'm not quite sure how many times we at the table commented, Wow, this is really good!
(the rice used traditionally in risotto) except that it is a whole grain. Farro can be found in most health food stores, and it's even appearing in regular grocery stores. A small package on the shelf will likely be expensive, so look for farro in bulk or try purchasing it from a co-op. If you can't find farro (or don't wish to use it), I'd recommend trying either barley or short grain rice in this soup.
Don't let the long list of ingredients or directions put you off. This soup is so worth it! And it really is simple and far from tedious. Making the soup is primarily comprised of just four basic steps:
1. Cook the farro.
2. Roast the garlic.
3. Dice and saute the veggies.
4. Put it all together.
The first two steps can be done ahead of time, or all four parts can be done simultaneously. Give it a try. You'll be so glad you did!
Roasted Garlic Chicken Soup with Lemon and FarroServes 6-8
2 cups farro (barley or short grain rice are good substitutes)
5 cups water or chicken broth/stock
2 heads (bulbs) of garlic
a drizzle of olive oil
2-3 cups leftover chicken, chopped into small bite sized pieces
8 cups chicken broth/stock
1 cup cooked spinach or other mild green like kale
1 small yellow onion
1 celery stalk
the juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste
optional: 4 slices bacon (or use 1 T butter)
parmesan for topping soup bowls
Preheat oven to 400. Slice the tops off the garlic bulbs. Drizzle a little olive oil over the exposed garlic cloves and sprinkle with salt. Place garlic on a cookie sheet and cover with foil. Place in the oven and roast for 30-40 minutes until the garlic is very soft and lightly browned. When done, allow to cool until you can easily handle it.
Meanwhile, add the farro and 5 cups of water/broth/stock to a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer (covered) for about 30 minutes, or until the liquid is mostly gone and the farro is soft but still chewy.
Once the garlic is roasting and the farro is cooking, very finely dice the onion, carrot and celery. Give the cooked greens a fine chop as well, so that the greens are finely shredded. (Alternatively, if you have a food processor, you can pulse all the veggies quickly until finely diced/shredded.) Set chopped vegetables aside.
If using bacon, chop the bacon into a small dice. Cook bacon in a skillet until browned and crisp and the fat is rendered. Add the vegetables and saute for a 8-10 minutes, until soft and tender. If not using bacon, just add 1 T of butter to the skillet and saute the vegetables in the butter instead.
Add the 8 cups of chicken stock to a large soup pot. Squeeze the garlic out of the skin into the chicken broth. (It should squeeze out very easily.) Use an immersion blender to puree the roasted garlic cloves into the broth. Be sure to blend well.
Add the farro, vegetables and bacon, and chicken to the garlic broth. Thoroughly heat the soup to serving temperature, then remove from heat. Stir in the lemon juice. Salt and pepper to taste. Ladle in bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan.
If you liked this recipe, you may also like:
Coconut-Chicken Soup with Cabbage and Carrots
Healing Soup - A Spin-off of French Onion
The Easiest Way to Get Greens and Veggies in Your Kids (and You!)