Speedy Pesto Chicken Soup
You've all heard that April showers bring May flowers. In our climate, it more like May showers bring June flowers! This is a recipe for those cool rainy days that hold the promise of flowers and vegetables to come. It is a warming and flavourful soup, full of herbiness from the pesto, saltiness from the parmesan, and freshness from the spinach. The beans and chicken make it nice and filling so you can easily make this a main course soup. Because there aren't a lot of ingredients here, they all need to be of the best quality, meaning a good quality chicken stock or broth is very important. Using spinach and basil from your own garden will ensure freshness and the best flavour. Bonus points if you use homegrown beans too! This recipe is also super, duper speedy! In 20 minutes you can have this on the table, including making your own pesto. Serve this with a rustic hearty loaf, either homemade or picked up from your local bakery.
4 cups good quality chicken stock or broth (or homemade if you have it)
3 cups packed fresh spinach, washed and torn into large pieces
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (I like to pull apart a whole rotisserie chicken for this)
2 (14 oz. each) cans cannelloni beans or Great Northern beans
1/3 cup pesto, homemade (see below for recipe) or purchased
lots of parmesan cheese to garnish
In a large saucepan, combine stock, spinach, chicken, and beans. The pot may be super full, but don't worry, the spinach will cook down. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup reaches a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium. Stir in pesto and let soup simmer for 2 additional minutes.
Serve warm, topped with lots of parmesan cheese.
In a food processor or blender, combine:
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbsp olive oil
Scrape down the sides. Slowly add 1/4 cup more olive oil while the machine is running.
Taste and add salt as required. Scoop into a glass jar for storage. Top your pesto with an additional thin layer of olive oil to keep that bright green colour.
Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for several months.
Stir in 1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan just before using.
Original recipe from Gimme Some Oven blog. See the link here.
Yummy gardening everyone!