Tuscan Chicken and Kale Soup was one of my very first blog posts many years ago. Since then I have changed the way I make this recipe, so I thought I would write a completely new blog and share with you what I have learned over the years. For starters, using chicken thighs is key in making good chicken soup. If you sear the thighs first, the skin (which you will remove after making the broth) offers so much rich flavor to the liquid – it’s just incomparable to making a broth with skinless chicken breasts.
The other thing that I’ve learned is to save the Parmesan rind after I grate up my cheese. I store my rinds in a zip-lock bag in my freezer and throw one into soup, once I have all the other ingredients in the pot. The rind breaks down gently and adds a cheesy taste as well as thickens the chicken broth and turns it into the most marvelous rustic encounter you will ever eat.
Kale is not all the same, especially when it comes to this soup recipe. Using Italian kale like Lacinato or Cavolo Nero kale is essential. After removing the leaves from their stalks, run your knife through them and give it a rough chop. Then, add them to the broth and watch this deep green cruciferous vegetable go almost black as night and wilt right before your eyes. I just love the contrasting colors bobbing up and down in a low rolling boil, it totally gets my stomach juices turning.
Ladle the soup into bowls and add another quick sprinkling of Parmesan cheese on top if you’d like, but it sure doesn’t need anything more. I usually pair it with a rustic roll for dipping because this is one soup you don’t want to miss out on a single drop.
4 chicken thighs, skin-on bone-in
2 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
4 stalks celery, sliced – divided
1 white onion, skin removed and cut into quarters
1 bunch Lacinato kale, washed and stripped off stalks
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 Parmesan rind + more cheese for sprinkling
14 ounces canned Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
salt & pepper
- Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a large Dutch oven or pot and place over medium heat. Salt and pepper chicken and add it skin-side down to pot. Sear on first side for 4 minutes, flip over and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside, pour out all oil and chicken grease.
- Add chicken back into pot along with carrots, 2 stalks celery and onion. Fill pot with water to cover and place over medium-low heat with lid a jar. Cook broth for 45 minutes, turn off heat and remove chicken and vegetables with slotted spoon.
- Discard vegetables and remove chicken from skin and bones. Add chicken back into broth with remaining celery, kale, bouillon cube, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and Parmesan rind. Place over low heat with lid a jar and cook for 20 minutes. Add beans and cook for 5 minutes.
- Remove rind from soup and ladle into bowls. Top with additional Parmesan if desired. Enjoy!