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Chicken, Artichoke and White Bean Soup

This was originally a recipe of Giada’s, a “Spezzatino” which is basically Italian stew. This one was a chicken version, with artichoke hearts and white beans. I made a lot of changes along the way and let me just tell you, this one got RAVES from the family. All three kids loved it, especially the crunchy pancetta garnish, and Rich and I fought over the leftovers which is always the best sign of a win. Just a tip, one of my all time favorite Trader Joes items is a little 4 oz. package of (1/4 inch) diced pancetta. I buy 5 at a time and freeze them – fantastic way to start soups, pastas, or even eggs. For Rich I’ll sauté the pancetta then cook a few beaten eggs in the leftover fat, fold in some baby spinach and provolone and it’s one tasty quick lunch. 

Chicken, Artichoke and White Bean Soup

Serves 8

2 tbsp. olive oil

4 oz. diced pancetta

3 carrots, peeled and diced

3 celery stalks, diced

1 large onion, diced

3-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. dried thyme

2 tbsp. tomato paste

8 c. chicken broth

1 bay leaf

3 chicken breasts

12 oz. frozen artichoke hearts, well chopped

3 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

5 oz. baby kale leaves

1/4 c. grated pecorino romano

1/2 c. basil leaves, chopped

  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add pancetta and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel lined plate.
  2. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme to pot. Increase heat to medium high and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (5-8 minutes).
  3. Add tomato paste. Stir to combine. Let cook about two minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add chicken broth and bay leaf. Stir to combine. Nestle chicken into mixture (make sure it’s fully submerged). Increase heat to high and when it reaches a boil, reduce to medium low. Flip chicken if necessary and remove to cutting board or plate when fully cooked, about ten minutes). When cool enough to handle, chop chicken.
  5. Add chicken back to pot along with artichoke hearts and beans. Stir to combine. When mixture is heated to a near boil, remove from heat and add kale, cheese and basil. Stir until wilted. Taste for seasoning and serve with reserved pancetta and more cheese.  Crushed red pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil would also be ideal.