What’s better than eating a warm bowl of soup on a cold autumn day? At least for me, nothing can compare with a mouth-watering broth full of delicious veggies when I’m feeling down. It brings all the necessary vitamins and flavors back where they belong.
This one is not your traditional chicken noodle soup, but it can live up to the standards. Loaded with autumn veggies, fresh herbs, parmesan and a chicken stock with tomato aroma. Besides the usual: onions, carrots, parsnips and celery, you’ll also need some delicious butternut squash, roasted garlic and baby spinach. I just love roasting garlic, it makes my kitchen smell incredible and also keeps vampires away.
To cook the chicken I prefer roasting it in the oven, no need to worry it will dry out or become a stringy piece of cardboard. The baby spinach and fresh herbs add a subtle earthy taste. To season the soup I like using some homemade Italian seasoning – 1/2 tsp basil and oregano, 1/4 tsp rosemary, parsley, thyme and garlic powder, plus 1/8 tsp chili flakes. Make sure to cook the pasta separately, it absorbs a lot of liquid.
Chicken and Autumn Vegetable Soup
- 2 medium chicken breasts
- 3 tbsp olive oil extra virgin, divided
- salt to taste
- black pepper freshly ground
- 3 heads garlic
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 parsnips diced
- 2 ribs celery diced
- 200 g butternut squash diced into bite-size cubes
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley, thyme, chili flakes, garlic powder
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 l chicken or vegetable stock
- small piece of Parmesan rind
- 120 g baby spinach
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley roughly chopped
- 100 g gnocchi pasta
- fresh Parmesan grated, for serving
- 1 pinch cayenne for serving
- Preheat oven to 220°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup. Place chicken breasts on the baking sheet, drizzle both sides with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Trim about ½ cm off the heads of garlic, drizzle 1 tsp olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, wrap each head in aluminum foil and place on baking sheet next to the chicken.
- Roast chicken for 30-35 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 75°C) and the garlic heads for 45 minutes. Let them cool.
- Once they are cooled, dice the chicken and set it aside. Press on the bottom of a garlic clove to push it out of its paper and make the cloves into a paste using your knife or fork. Set it aside.
- Add 2 tbsp olive oil and unsalted butter in a large pot and place it over a medium-high heat. Stir in onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the roasted garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add diced carrots, parsnips, celery and butternut squash, season with Italian seasoning, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add in tomato paste and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then add chicken or vegetable stock and Parmesan rind to the pot, cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors combine and the veggies to cook through – about 20 minutes.
- Cook gnocchi pasta in a separate pot according to the package instructions and set aside.
- Add in diced chicken and heat for 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and add salt or freshly ground black pepper if needed.
- Turn off the heat, remove Parmesan rind and add in baby spinach, stir to incorporate it and let it wilt for a couple of minutes. Finish the soup with chopped fresh basil, parsley and cooked gnocchi.
- Garnish each bowl of soup with grated Parmesan, a pinch of cayenne and fresh parsley.