|Chicken and Gnocchi Soup|
Soup is something that beckons to me year-round. I don't put it away in the summer when it's too hot to even think, and I try not to overdo it in the winter when nothing else will take the chill off my bones.
That's why I would like to take one tiny second here to pat myself on the back. One of my recipes, Beer and Baked Potato Soup, was chosen as one of the two winners of Cabot Creamery Cooperative's 2011 Soup Swap. This means, I get the recipe permanently located on Cabot Cheese's website. It's truly an honor to be recognized by the amazing people over at Cabot and the New England Culinary Institute who judged the competition. I've said it before, but Cabot is formed by a wonderful, hard-working group of Vermont dairy farmers. They're continuing a long-standing tradition in that state that sadly has dwindled over the last couple of decades. Their products are amazing, and New Englanders, you don't have to go further than your local supermarket to find them.
I digress, don't I? Today's soup sadly has no beer involved, something the husband was sad to discover. However, it's a thick, stick-to-your ribs type variety without all of the calories involved. This all started when I looked in my produce drawer, and yes, it was full of carrots and parsnips again. Don't get me wrong, carrots and parsnips are two of my favorite things out of my Winter CSA, but they do pile up quick.
I considered my options over a glass of wine, because really, there's not a lot of other ways I'd rather consider my options. I had picked up a small rotisserie chicken from my local farm. Believe me, I know how lucky I am to have such an option. I mean, seriously, who has that available to them all of the time? I thought about classic chicken noodle, adding some parsnips for bite. I thought about a creamy chicken noodle, for a little more heartiness. I then spied a little box of gnocchi in the pantry. I've made my own in the past, but that delicate version isn't going to hold up to this soup, so I picked up that box and went to work. I hope you enjoy the result.
Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
Inspired by wine and this recipe from Tasty Kitchen
1 lb. box of gnocchi
3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
1/2 onion, chopped
1 cup celery (2 large stalks), sliced
1/2 cup carrot (1-2 medium), peeled and chopped
1/2 cup parsnip (1-2 medium), peeled and chopped (or you can just use a full cup of carrots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour + 1 tablespoon flour
2 cups milk (I used 1%)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (for serving)
Cook gnocchi according to directions (do not overcook, they'll become mushy, if anything, under cook), drain and set aside.
In a large Dutch oven, over medium heat, melt your 3 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add your onion, celery, carrots and parsnips and sauté until carrots/parsnips soften and onions become translucent. Add your garlic and cook about 30 seconds, until you can actually smell it.
Next, stir in 2 (just two, we have a use for the other tablespoon) of flour. Stirring constantly, as not to burn it, into the vegetable mixture until thickened. Now, take your 2 cups of milk and whisk your final tablespoon of flour into the milk until it dissolves. Once that is done, pour the milk (still over medium heat) into the dutch oven and whisk until the lumps of flour have disappeared into the mixture.
Now, you can add your chicken broth, chicken, your parsley, thyme, salt and pepper to the mix. Stir to combine everything and bring it up to a boil, and then immediately bring the soup down to a simmer. Add your cooked gnocchi at this point and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
Serve with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese for an extra little kick of flavor!