I came into the office on the Monday after NYE feeling over-sugared and under-exercised. I didn’t think I could eat one more thing when a coworker offered me some ‘healthy’ soup –I’ve had her cooking many times before and it is always yummy, so of course I accepted. This soup was SO healthful and delicious – just what I needed! I begged her to spill the beans on what made it taste so rich and still so healthful at the same time. Turns out it is the little bit of parmesan, the roasted flavor of the chicken and potatoes, and a little zest of lemon added to the broth. Here is the recipe – adapted from one she found online, but with her usual twists that put her in the category of naturally fabulous cooks!

Leslie’s Kale and Chicken Stew

Serves 6-8 which to me means I can make it on Monday night and eat it for the rest of the week – it is THAT good!

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 medium mixed potatoes; diced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
4 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

One big (peeled and seeded) tomato

2 big garlic cloves minced
1 medium onion; chopped
1 large shallot; minced
2 carrots; peeled and diced
6 cups chicken stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3  tablespoons Parmesan cheese; finely grated
5 cups chopped fresh kale – or collard greens (chopped into 1-1.5” strips)
15-ounce can cannellini beans; drained
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan. Rub with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In a separate sheet pan, toss the potatoes with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the potatoes are tender. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat. Set aside.

Warm 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, shallot, garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the carrots and cook 15 minutes until softened. Add in chicken stock, chicken, potatoes, Parmesan, salt and pepper, (and herb bundle) bring to a simmer. Peel and dice tomato – add to broth. Add the kale and beans and simmer for another 20 minutes, until the kale is tender and the beans are hot.

Kate’s Notes: At Leslie’s suggestion, I also made a herb bundle to float in the broth: ¼ lemon peel, 2 bay leaves and 1 more thyme sprig –bound with kitchen string so I could scoop it out later. You can also put that in one of those loose leaf tea strainers and float it in the soup- I just couldn’t find mine. I used more stock (~ 10 cups) because I wanted it to be more like a soup. To make my stock, I used two chicken bouillon cubes and added a couple tablespoons of reduced beef stock as well to give it an extra boost. I ended up using 3tbsp parm (Kraft-superfine) in the broth because it gives it the most yummy, intense flavor.

Leslie’s notes: I didn’t have chicken stock so used 1 beef bouillon cube and some soybean paste (what you use for miso soup) and more water than each called for.

A photo from the kitchn, where the orginal recipe can be found —