spelt soup, farro soup, italian cuisine

I love soup.  I love the process of making it, the aroma it emanates, holding the steaming mug in my cold hands, and then spooning steaming spoonfuls into my mouth.  Ah, so wonderful, but I digress.  Focus.  Focus.

Thick, richly flavored, this soup is a take on an Italian Ribolletta, but with no tomatoes and using stuffing as the thickening agent instead of bread.  Wonderful to make with leftovers from a Sunday roast chicken and stuffing dinner, but worthy enough to devote a day to immersing yourself in the process of making it from scratch. The best part of this recipe is whether you make each part from scratch or take advantage of shortcuts, it’s still going to be delicious!  Customize the recipe to fit your taste, your schedule, or what’s in your fridge.

Chicken and Stuffing Soup

Serves 8-10

For Stock (or skip this step and use boxed stock and rotisserie chicken):

  • 1 large roasting chicken, bone in, skin on, cut up
  • Assorted bony chicken parts, such as wings or necks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • Handful fresh parsley
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs of fresh sage
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 head garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 4 quarts water

For Soup:

  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 small head of fennel, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 (or more) cups dry white wine
  • 8 cups of stock
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups dry herbed stuffing mix (can use leftover stuffing, or more or less dry stuffing to suit your desired thickness)
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken

Start by roasting the chicken. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  On a large baking sheet, arrange the roasting chicken.  Pour olive oil over the chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool and remove the meat from the bones.  Reserve the bones and any oil/accumulated juices in the baking sheet.  Dice the meat and set aside.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.  Add the reserved bones, the assorted bony chicken parts, and vegetable chunks to the baking sheet.  Toss everything any oil and juices in the pan.  Roast in the hot oven for about 40 minutes until the bones and vegetables are golden brown.

Transfer the vegetables, bones, scraping any browned bits and juices from the baking sheet into a stock pot.  Add the fresh herbs, garlic, peppercorns and water.  Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 4 hours, skimming any foam from the top using a slotted spoon.  Remove from heat and strain through a mesh strainer.  Discard all the solids.  Place the stock back into the pot and cook over high heat until the stock is reduced to about half.  Use immediately or cool in the refrigerator overnight and skim off any congealed fat that rises to the top of the stock.

For the soup:  In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil till shimmering.  Add the diced vegetables and sauté until lightly golden and caramelized.  Add the wine and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Stir in the spinach and the stuffing mix.  Cover the pot and simmer over very low heat for 30 minutes.  Stir in the cooked, diced chicken and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.

If the soup is too thick, you can add more stock.  You can also add more stuffing if you like a thicker soup.  Ladle into big mugs and enjoy!