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Adventures in the Kitchen and on the Road

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Chicken and White Bean Soup

Back in March of 2006, I tasted a wonderful soup at Whole Foods that I think they had called White Lightning Soup that had chicken and white beans in it. Filling, comforting. So then a few months later, (7/25/06) I tried to recreate it when I was cleaning out a bunch of stuff in the fridge. This was pretty tasty but it wasn't the amazing soup at Whole Foods. Anyone have that recipe? This took about 1 hour of prep work and then 2 hours of simmering. Go watch a movie while you wait for this to finish.

Chicken and White Bean Soup
4 cups Great Northern White beans (about 8 oz dried beans, or maybe 2 15-oz cans of white beans?)
1 medium to large onion (chopped)
1 cup chopped leeks
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
4 garlic cloves, chopped
about 3 cups torn kale leaves
1 to 1.5 pounds boneless chicken breast
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
flour for dredging
2 quarts water

  1. The night before: If using dried beans, cover with water about an inch above the beans and let soak overnight (or 8 hours).
  2. Chop garlic cloves and set aside
  3. Chop leeks and onion, mix together and set aside.
  4. Chop carrots and celery, mix together and set aside.
  5. Cut chicken into 1-inch, bite-size pieces.
  6. Put flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly coat the chicken pieces with flour by dredging them in the flour.
  7. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Sear the chicken pieces on all sides and set the chicken aside. (may need to do the chicken in 2 batches so you don't overcrowd the pot)
  8. In same pot, saute leeks and onions for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned.
  9. Add garlic and stir for another minute.
  10. Add the chicken, celery, carrots, beans, oregano, cumin, and water.
  11. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Cover the pot and let simmer until beans are tender (about 2 hours for dried beans, maybe 30 minutes for canned beans). Should get a rich chicken broth from all the simmering.
  12. For last 10 minutes of simmering, toss in the 3 cups of torn kale leaves.

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Looks like another winning recipe from you I am going to have to try. I love soup!

Maybe some fresh basil and a bit of tarragon could brighten it up a bit?

i wonder how cilantro would taste in it?

I think the soups at WFM tend to be pretty high in fat, so they probably used chicken stock, butter and a couple of bay leaves for extra flavor. Did you use the drippings from searing the chicken to sautee the onions or did you add butter or oil? Your recipe seems very lean and like a much healthier option and it looks really tasty!

I've passed by your lovely journal several times and always thought I would like to stop by for a while. May I add you to my friends' list?

Certainly, come on in! I've seen you around LJ-land too. Friended you back.

nice! thanks. i read you during those days and nights with michael and was very moved and remembered you both often. i am going to try some of your recipes. wondering if you have read elizabeth gilbert's eat, pray, love. such an awesome book.

Thanks. One thing that surprised me was that Michael liked knowing that people he didn't even know were rooting for him. I haven't read Eat, pray, love yet though I've heard enough good things about the book that I do want to read it some day.

This looks scrumptious! Thank you for linking me to it!

I've found leeks to be milder than onions; when using both can you taste both?

Hrm. There were so many different greens in this soup that I don't think I really concentrated on picking out the flavors of the individual ingredients. I think the onions got to the point where they were so soft they just melted away in your mouth. The leeks retained some texture to chew on. So that was about the only difference I remember :)

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