Thursday, October 31, 2013

Short Cut Chicken Gnocchi Soup

This is one of my kids' favorite menu items at Olive Garden.  I've wanted to make it for so long, but just never got around to.  Now, I'm wondering why not - it was so easy!  Now for a soup such as this, you could really spend all day, boiling the chicken, making a nice rich broth, making the gnocchi, etc., but really who has time for that on a busy week night?  

We had a Fall festival to go to at the school of my kindergartener, so I wanted flavor and comfort - but fast!  So yes, I took some short cuts for this recipe.  I'm not going to apologize for that, either... because probably most of you out there are in the same situation with so many other obligations, and you are looking for a quick and easy version as well.

You've not had gnocchi?  Oh - you are in for a treat!  Soft little dumplings made from a potato dough.  A definition for gnocchi dating back to 1891 states the following:  The word Italian word gnocchi is the plural of gnocco, from nocchio "a knot in wood," perhaps from a Germanic source akin to knuckle. So called for their shape.

Print this recipe!

Ingredients: 
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 cups half and half
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (not table salt)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1/4 tsp finely grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 (32oz) box chicken stock
  • 1 (16oz) container of gnocchi
    • lately I've been using 2 packs
  • 3 cups cooked chicken
    • I used a rotisserie chicken
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped 
Step-by-step:
In a soup sized pot, saute your onions, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil on medium heat until the vegetables are soft and translucent. 
4 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup onions, diced (about 1/2 of a large onion)
1/2 cup celery, finely diced (about 1 1/2 ribs)
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
Find someone to help you grate the carrots while the vegetables are sauteing.
Sprinkle in the the flour to make yourself a roux.  You will want to let the butter and flour mixture cook for a good 4 - 5 minutes.  You don't want a flour'y taste.
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Add the half and half to the roux and stir or whisk until nice and smooth.  Let it come up to a good bubble so the thickeners and the cream can do their thing!

Add in the grated carrots and your seasonings.  We want to give the carrots a nice cooking time so they will be soft.
1 cup grated carrots
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (less if using regular table salt)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped from the stems
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
After the mixture thickens again, add in the chicken stock.  Start bringing this up to simmer.
1 (32oz) box chicken stock
While the soup is simmering, bring your water to a boil and add in the gnocchi.  Boil according to instructions on the package, about 2 minutes.  They will come up to the top and float when they are ready.  You can find these in the pasta section of your grocery store.

16 oz package of gnocchi
Drain your gnocchi and add it to the soup.  I used the "mini" gnocchi, but you may find them in a larger size as well.  Sometimes in the restaurant, the large ones are a little more than my little ones can handle in one mouthful, but choose which ever you feel most comfortable with.
Now add in the chopped spinach and the cooked, chopped chicken.  I have not added the chicken before now for a reason.  We are using cooked chicken, so if you add it early and let it simmer away with the rest of the soup for a while, you could end up with dry, tough chicken.  All we really need to do is warm the chicken through - and we definitely still want it to be juicy and tender.
2 cups rough chopped spinach, stems removed
3 cups cooked, chopped chicken meat (I used rotisserie chicken)
The spinach only has to cook 3 or 4 minutes to wilt down.  Basically, once it's heated through and you get all your other dinner stuff out, the spinach is ready.  Take this opportunity to adjust any seasonings.

When you dip down into this soup, you get a ton of goodies!  Tender chicken, pillowy soft gnocchi, lots of vibrant colors from all these healthy vegetables, and a silky creamy broth.
To serve, grate some fresh Parmigiano reggiano over the top and sprinkle a little black pepper.
Be careful... then minute you turn your back, you may have soup thieves!  Even the kind who have to climb up onto a step stool to see into the pot!
Soup - salad - bread sticks!  You could go out to a restaurant for this.... but why?
I just need to give props to Lily for the...er.... props for this photo.  While I was working on getting my plate together, she disappeared into the other room where I keep linens and things.  She came back with this orange napkin and these little owl salt and pepper shakers.  She insisted that they be part of the photo.  Whooooo knew a 4 year old could be the prop girl?!  :)

This is a very satisfying soup and very family friendly!  Nothing too hot or too spicy.  Just good warm comfort!

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe.  To see what else I've been cooking up, visit my Recipe Index.  You are sure to find something delicious to cook with/for your family!

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Here are some bonus recipes for you.
Taco Soup

Creamy Chicken Piccata

Macadamia Nut Crunch Cake with Mascarpone and Chocolate

Crock Pot Beef and Broccoli

Cajun Chicken Salad

Alice Springs Chicken

Written Directions:
In a soup sized pot, saute your onions, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil on medium heat until the vegetables are soft and translucent.   Grate the carrots while the vegetables are sauteing.  Sprinkle in the the flour to make yourself a roux. You will want to let the butter and flour mixture cook for a good 4 - 5 minutes. You don't want a flour'y taste.


Add the half and half to the roux and stir or whisk until nice and smooth. Let it come up to a nice bubble.  Add in the grated carrots and your seasonings. We want to give the carrots a nice cooking time so they will be soft.  After the mixture thickens again, add in the chicken stock. Start bringing this up to simmer.  While the soup is simmering, bring your water to a boil and add in the gnocchi. Boil according to instructions on the package, about 2 minutes. They will come up to the top and float when they are ready. 

Drain your gnocchi and add it to the soup.  Now add in the chopped spinach and the cooked, chopped chicken.  The spinach only has to cook 3 or 4 minutes to wilt down. Basically, once it's heated through and you get everything else out, the spinach is ready. Take this opportunity to adjust any seasonings.  To serve, grate some fresh Parmigiano reggiano over the top and sprinkle a little black pepper. 

3 comments:

  1. Im so gonna try this recipe this weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was fantastic. First soup that the entire pot was eaten. Even better on day two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, well, well.... what a great compliment!!! :)


      I invite you to click the "subscribe" button, so next time you have a super comment like this, your name won't come up as "anonymous." Also, please share the blog with your friends and family who may be looking for some great recipes. I would love to have some new readers. Btw, this happens to be my daughter's FAVORITE soup!

      Thanks for the feedback,
      Julie

      Delete

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