I quite enjoy soup all year round, if you want to know the truth, but I finally feel liberated and free about posting soup recipes now that soup season has “officially started” (just trying to avoid the hate mail here – nothing spawns more anger than posting soup in July, apparently).
Although I’m sure I have many more soups to look forward to over the next chilly months, I do have to say that I’m having a hard time not declaring this soup my absolute favorite of the season. Honest to goodness, this soup is so deliciously wonderful and was one of the first things I made after trying out my new, favorite way of cooking chicken for recipes that call for, well, cooked chicken.
I found the soup via several copycat type recipes online and decided I had to change the method considerably (I, for one, didn’t want to dirty up several pots so I streamlined it to be a one-pot wonder and I also wanted to lighten it up a bit, taking out 7 tablespoons of fat and using fat free half-and-half). I was blown away by the finished soup. Thick and creamy and so, so hearty, this soup is a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. Each bite is like a delicious taste of decadent soup heaven filled with tender bites of chicken, pillows of gnocchi (how I love thee, gnocchi, and someday I will really, truly make you from scratch), a smattering of veggies and just simple, great flavor.
Considering we are expecting snow this week, I have a feeling this soup may be on the menu at least once, probably twice, in the next few days. When I find a good thing, I have a hard time letting go, what can I say.
Note: This soup is thick and hearty. If you like a less thick soup, simply add more liquid (either milk or chicken broth). I'd suggest adding it at the end with the chicken and spinach, after the soup has thickened. Vacuum-sealed packages of gnocchi are usually in the pasta aisle of the grocery store. I've also seen frozen gnocchi, too, so check both places if you can't find it.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups fat free half-and-half
- 1 cup lowfat milk
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 16 ounce package gnocchi
- 1-2 cups cooked, shredded or diced chicken breasts
- 1 cup fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a 4- or 5-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot and rippling. Add the chopped onion, carrots and thyme. Cook until the onion is translucent and carrots are slightly tender, stirring often, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant.
- Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking or stirring constantly, until the flour is lightly golden, 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half. Whisk in the milk and chicken broth. Stir while bringing the mixture to a boil over medium to medium-high heat.
- Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the uncooked gnocchi and simmer over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The soup should thicken up quite a bit while the gnocchi is cooking. Stir in the chicken and spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until heated through. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.