As the weather turns a bit chillier and the days get shorter and shorter, soups of all flavors and textures start calling my name. Classic to creative or hearty to healthy, soups have a special place in my kitchen during the winter months. I mean that quite literally. I am certainly known to make large batches of several soups du jour to freeze for enjoyment whenever. While I know National Soup Month does not occur until January, what better time than right now to do that prepping now as we head into the holiday season.
Soups are on my go-to holiday prep list for several reasons. First off, unexpected guests linger a little longer during the holidays, so why not have soups ready so that you can quickly thaw, heat up and enjoy without stepping away from the conversation for long. Secondly, a cup of hot soup is a great addition to or filler for an impromptu appetizer party. It also hits the spot after a long day of holiday madness or brightens the spirit of anyone needing a little holiday lift. Finally, soups make fabulous holiday host gifts. Ladled into a mason jar, adorned with a bow, and festively bagged with a tea towel alongside crusty bread from the local market, and you have a fabulous, low-cost gift that is sure to say, “Thanks for hosting!” in a super special way. Whatever the occasion, who can argue with this quote from the legendary French chef Auguste Escoffier: "Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite."
Thank you to LLCC Chef Mama Kim for lending one of many delicious soup recipes in her arsenal of homemade favorites.
Mama Kim's Chicken Gnocchi Soup
Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 45 mins
Total time 1 hour 5 mins
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ cup onion, diced (small)
- ½ cup carrots, diced (small)
- ½ cup celery, diced (small)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced fine
- coarse salt and fresh black pepper TT
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken broth (I prefer Swanson's brand or homemade)
- 1 + ½ cups half & half
- 2 cups cooked white meat chicken, shredded or cut into small bites
- 1 pound potato gnocchi (I make my own but you can purchase fresh premade at most grocery stores.)
- 3 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed
- fresh grated Parmesan and/or Romano, for serving
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven heat the butter and oil together over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender over medium-low heat about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir into the vegetables, cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in the chicken broth 1 cup at a time, followed by the half & half.
Add the cooked chicken. Bring up to a simmer and maintain for 20 minutes stirring often. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the gnocchi separately according to package directions (or if you're making your own, pre-cook and add to soup as recipe states.) Add them to the soup along with the spinach. Simmer until spinach is wilted. Serve with grated cheese.
Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Baking/Pastry, and Value-Added Local Food, and non-credit cooking and food classes through LLCC Community Education.
Cooking or food questions? Email email@example.com.