The Kitchen Goddess has been a bit under the weather lately. So it was a rough way to spend Valentine’s Day, until I realized that what’s good for the Goddess can also be good for the Goddess’s husband. And as it’s way too painful to talk my mate through a recipe, I hobbled to the kitchen on my own and made a version of chicken soup that would satisfy both of us.
I don’t know what it is about chicken soup – in any form – that is so wonderfully soothing. Like wrapping your insides in a fuzzy blanket. And in this particular version, the collards add a heartiness that will improve your spirits all by themselves. You will likely not believe this, but the Kitchen Goddess has been known to grumble and emit the occasional snarl when she’s not at the peak of health.
By the way, if you are one of those people who can’t bear a brothy soup without rice or noodles of some sort, feel free to add them to this soup. Whatever makes you feel better.
Green and White Chicken Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic diced
½ cup celery, diced
⅔ cup parsnips, diced
6 cups chicken broth
6 skinless chicken thighs (though I prefer also boneless), as much fat removed as possible
1 large bunch collard greens, washed thoroughly
1 teaspoon dried dill
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt/pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
In a large soup pot over medium heat, sauté the onion in olive oil for 4 minutes, without browning. Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds. Add celery and parsnips and cook, stirring, for another 5 minutes.
Add the broth and the chicken thighs and slowly bring to a low simmer. Continue with the broth at a low simmer until the chicken pieces are cooked through, about 30 minutes. Kitchen Goddess note: Cooking the chicken too vigorously can result in an unattractive gray foam collecting on the surface of the soup. If you get some, just skim it off and lower the heat a bit.
In the meantime, ribbon the collard greens. Cut out the stems that run down the center of the large leaves; the tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don't need to be stripped. Stack 6-8 leaves on top of one another and slice into strips ½-inch wide.
Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the broth and slice or tear into bite-sized pieces. Return the chicken to the broth along with the collard greens, the dill, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a bare simmer and cook, covered, another 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the collards are tender.
Remove the bay leaf, stir in the parsley, and adjust the seasonings to taste (which may even include additional dill or thyme). Serve immediately.