Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Chicken & Spinach Soup With Fresh Pesto

Ingredients for 5 servings

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup carrot or diced red bell pepper
¾ cup plain or herbed multigrain croutons for garnish (optional)
1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 8 ounces), cut into quarters
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans or great northern beans, rinsed
1 ½ teaspoons dried marjoram
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot (or bell pepper) and chicken; cook, turning the chicken and stirring frequently, until the chicken begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Stir in broth and marjoram; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken pieces to a clean cutting board to cool. Add spinach and beans to the pot and bring to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes to blend the flavors.

Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, Parmesan and basil in a food processor (a mini processor works well). Process until a coarse paste forms, adding a little water and scraping down the sides as necessary.

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Stir the chicken and pesto into the pot. Season with pepper. Heat until hot. Garnish with croutons, if desired.
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