Dishing Up the Dirt

Chicken Soup For the Chilly Soul

It is cold here. I mean really cold. The farmhouse is heated by a wood stove only and we’ve been taking turns stoking the fire throughout the night to keep the house warm and cozy. If I’m being honest, waking up in the middle of the night to throw a log on the fire isn’t quite my jam. The house is chilly and those 60 + seconds away from the warm covers are pretty brutal. We’ve been going through firewood twice as fast as we did last year (it’s been a colder winter) and I’ve quickly forgotten how much harsher the cold weather can be around here. It’s supposed to stay chilly for the foreseeable future however, I think the coldest part of the week has passed.  Thankfully, the snow has been beautiful and Mount Hood is finally getting rewarded with some much needed moisture.

Taylor requested chicken soup after a full day out in the snow working on the deer fence. He was chilled to the bone and I knew I better not disappoint. I have a tendency to make things a little “hippie” but this soup is pretty rustic and standard. If I’ve learned anything over the years with Taylor, it’s that when the boy requests chicken soup it’s best to keep things pretty traditional. Why mess with a good thing? The result is a simple and comforting soup that will warm you from the inside out. We used storage vegetables from the barn, chicken thighs from a neighbor farmer, and a few spices to kick things up a notch. After an hour on the stove dinner was ready (most of this is hands off time.) Pair this simple dish with a baguette of bread and a glass of red wine and you’re all set. I hope you all enjoy this as much as we do. Cheers to 2016 and more tasty soups on the menu!

Chicken Soup For the Chilly Soul

Prep Time: 20 minutes    Cook Time: 1 hour    Serves: 6-8

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 large russet potato, cut into small dice
  • 1 small rutabaga, cut into small dice
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs (about 5) preferably bone-in thighs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 cups cooked white cannelloni beans, if from the can rinsed and drained
  • 1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh parmesan cheese for serving


  1. In a large dutch oven heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, potato, rutabaga and cook, stirring often until they begin to soften up. About 3-5 minutes.
  2. Remove the skin from the chicken thighs but leave the bone in (this will result in a deeper and more rich broth) Move the vegetables to one side of the pan and drizzle a little oil in the open space. Add the chicken thighs in a single layer (it's okay if they're snug) and sear for about 3 minutes per side.
  3. Add the bay leaf and 1 quart of chicken broth to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the chicken thighs from the pan and place them on a large plate. When cool enough to handle use two forks to shred the chicken. Discard the bones and return the shredded chicken to the pot. (if the chicken is still a little pink at this point thats okay- you'll continue to simmer)
  4. Stir in the beans and kale. Season the soup with salt, pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. If the soup is too thick add additional stock until you reach your desired consistency. Simmer the soup for an additional 15 minutes so all the flavors have  a chance to melt together.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.


*Use this recipe as a guide *Adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary *Taste test as you go *Cooking times will vary from kitchen to kitchen

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4 thoughts on “Chicken Soup For the Chilly Soul

  1. Summer says:

    Keeping things traditional with soup is always a good thing for me. This soup sounds and looks so yummy ♥

  2. Alex says:

    So the kale. Do you still have that growing or do you also store them? I had fresh kale this summer and when stored right it lasted 3 weeks. But i know it can survive the snow too. The soup sounds so much better with kale in it. Thank you for your recipes and inspiration. I eat healthy and grow my own food but I was raised meat and potatoes. That’s why I love your blog so much! It amazes me that you keep casting out new and flavorful recipes when meat isn’t the main ingredient. Keep up the good work and keep on inspiring!

  3. Wendy says:

    Thank you so much for your site. It’s lovely. My husband and I heat with wood, also. We have a large stove in the basement and a nice cookstove in the kitchen (along with modern conveniences) since we live in a rural area and lose the power for periods of time some years. I recommend you get a stove that will hold a fire all night, and maybe you could trade firewood (already cut, split and preferably delivered!) for some of those meals you are sharing with the community! Now is not the time for you to learn to cook on a woodstove, as you are busy with so much, but it may be an option for you to have a stove that does both! We have done this for 40 years and still love the wood heat more than anything else. Best wishes for the right amount of rain and sunshine for you.

    1. Andrea says:

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment. Yes, we are in the market for a larger woodstove-one that can keep a fire all night long. I’d love to experiment more with cooking on the wood stove as well. Thanks for the lovely idea. Take care and thanks for reading along.

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