Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snowed In {What I'm Eating}

It's been a long time since I did a What I'm Eating Wednesday. Too long! And with this blizzard upon us (seriously, we are in the middle of a blizzard as I type this), what can be better than a hot bowl of yummy home made soup?

And this one is ridiculously easy to to put together. With only five main ingredients, it an easy weeknight or snow day meal that you can prepare and go play in fluffy white stuff while it simmers down. Trust me, your kids, partner, and belly will ALL thank you when you're done.

Seriously, the most time consuming part of this prep is the kale. Personally, I think bunches of picked kale is much better than the pre-cut/pre-washed stuff in a bag. You get spines all mixed in, and although it's been pre-washed I always find a critter. I like to rip the leaves away from the spine, so there's nothing chewy in my soup and everything melts in your mouth. I chop up the spines for Doobie to eat raw, and she loves them as a snack. You can also do this prep work when you get it home from the store, rinse and store the torn leaves in a freezer bag or container suitable for freezing. Then it's that much easier for use in your soup, smoothies, or just to toss into a frying pan and saute with other veggies.

If you've got some bone broth (which I absolutely love but don't always have time to make ahead), you can substitute it for the store bought chicken broth. Bone broth is an amazing thing that is so very healthy for you, so I'll show you how to make it very soon. It's basically home made stock, so all of the veggie flavors are in it which makes it easy to add flavor as well as nutrition to anything you use it to cook with.

I choose to make this soup on the stove top. But if you're a planner (like I usually am), you can put this in your slow cooker on low for 6 hours and get the same result. You can definitely get fun with this soup, adding Spanish Chorizo, topping with buttery avocado, or some really good crusty bread (if you're a grain eater). I try to stay away from grains, but on a day like today I'm not against soaking up every last bit of this soup with some of the other fluffy white stuff ;)

Sweet Potato, Kale and Chicken Soup

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes (peeled and cut into large chunks)
1/2 Bunch Fresh Kale (leaves peeled away from their spines, and coarsely torn up)
2-2.5 lbs Chicken Thighs (boneless & skinless)
10 Sprigs Cilantro (roughly chopped, stems and leaves)
32 oz. Chicken Broth (or bone broth, or home made chicken stock)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Place all ingredients (except Salt and Pepper) into a 5 quart pot. Cook on high until you get a rolling boil and the kale has cooked down a bit, leaving enough room for you to give it all a good stir. Then turn down to medium-low heat and simmer for one hour.

After one hour of simmering, stir and check to see if your chicken is starting to fall apart. If it kind of crumbles when you press it with the spoon then you're good to go. Press into each of the pieces and separate until all are broken down to bite size chunks. (If not, you can separate them after the next step.)

Check the taste and add Salt and Pepper as needed. Depending on your Broth or Stock, you may not need to add much if any at all. I usually only add one tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Give the whole thing a stir, to incorporate the seasoning and mix in those melted sweet potatoes. Continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes. (If you're chicken wasn't ready to fall apart before, it should definitely be doing it now.)

This recipe makes enough for about 6 healthy main course servings. Leftovers can be frozen for future use, or kept in the fridge for lunch over the next few days.

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