Sometimes in life, creative inspiration and writing about food comes easily. Other times, one might prefer to bang one’s head against the wall while using a rolling pin to make mad stabs at the keyboard, hoping that something along the lines of creative thought (maybe in the form of a surprise Microsoft Word spell-check rewrite) appears.
And, we’ve all had chicken soup. Your typical recipe is predictable and comforting, and that’s good; but is anyone else out there bored with the standard version? What if we turned the typical method on its head and did something creative and ahem, fun?
Now, to be honest, my sudden zeal for revamping the chicken soup scene did not happen on it’s own. The inspiration actually came from my friends at uproot wines in Napa Valley. Greg and Jay are self-described “renegade wine makers” with a passion for looking to the future to inspire a better, more modern way of creating delicious wine. They are using the best-of-the-best equipment, ingredients, and techniques to create innovative wine like you’ve never tasted before.
And, in a side note, for a novice wine drinker like myself, I appreciate the fact that they label their bottles-how cool is this-by color, with each bar on the bottle representing the wine’s flavor profile. So, the purple stripe represents passion fruit, light green is melon, yellow is grapefruit. Genius.
I will always be grateful to Jay and Greg because, after following their example, there is no better way for me to express my love for this new recipe for chicken soup. Frying the chicken skins in olive oil at the start gives deep, chicken-y richness to the broth, and the de-glazing work done by the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc creates a mellow sweetness, while kale and tomatoes round out the umami punch.
The final result is deliciously inviting on a crisp fall day, smells like roasted chicken with garlic, and is as full-bodied and flavored a soup as I’ve made (the complete opposite of the overly salted, condensed versions lurking in your canned goods pantry). In fact, this soup is so good that if I could afford a magic carpet, I would find you and bring you a batch of mine (and I don’t play when referring to world travel).
On a final note, you know what makes this soup taste even better? Drinking it with the uproot Sauvignon Blanc. The lively, sweet-but-smooth white is dynamite with the hearty chicken and potatoes in the soup. I can not wait for you to try this. So put a little pre-Thanksgiving vinyl on your record player, visit the uproot site to get inspired, and make some deliciousness this week.
Chicken Soup with White Wine, Kale, and Tomatoes
What You Will Need:
- 1 rotisserie chicken, meat shredded and skins removed (set the skins aside for the frying process)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup uproot 2011 Sauvignon Blanc
- 1 white onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups onion)
- 2 celery ribs, sliced (don’t forget to include the leafy tops here too!)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 red potatoes, diced
- 1 Parmesan rind (about one to two inches in width and height)
- 1 15-oz can canned, diced tomatoes
- 5 cups kale, shredded and ribs removed (I used bag kale for mine)
- 3 cups white beans (I prefer to make mine from dried using the method below*, but you are more than welcome to used canned white beans too! Just rinse them ahead of time.)
What You Will Do
For the Soup
1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium heat to simmering in a large dutch oven.
2. Add about 1/2 cup chicken skin. Flash fry the skins in the oil for about 10-15 seconds, until dark brown bits start to form on the bottom of the pan.
3. Using a slottted spoon, remove the chicken skins, and add 1 tablespoon more oil. Add the onion and celery and saute until translucent, stirring frequently. Once the vegetables are soft, add the garlic, paprika, and chili powder and cook for about one more minute.
4. Add the Sauvignon Blanc and stir frequently, deglazing the pan and capturing all of those tasty brown bits that might be left. Cook until the liquid is reduced to about half.
5. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, Parmesan rind, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to medium and cover for twenty minutes.
6. Add the shredded chicken, 3 cups beans, and kale. Let everything warm through until the kale is slightly wilted. Remove the Parmesan rind if it hasn’t dissolved, and season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve the soup, adding extra grated Parmesan cheese if desired.
*For the beans (if making from dried; this method was adapted from Whole Foods instructions):
What You Will Need
- 1 lb dried white beans
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
What You Will Do:
1. Sort through 1 pound of white beans, removing any stragglers or broken beans.
2. Rinse beans over a colander to remove any extra grit.
3. Put beans in a large dutch oven, and cover with water until you have about a two- inch margin of water above the beans (about six to eight cups of water). Put the beans in the fridge about eight hours or overnight.
4. Once ready, drain and rinse your beans one more time.
5. Bring your soaked white beans with enough water to cover them by about 1 1/2 to 2 inches, two bay leaves, and a generous dash of salt and pepper to boil in a large dutch oven. Once the beans are boiling, skim the beige foam that forms off of the top. Reduce the heat to simmer, and cover the beans for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until they are tender.