Farmhouse Chicken and Vegetable Pesto Soup
Not only is this chicken and vegetable pesto soup my favourite soup I have made, it is apparently the nicest soup that Andrew has ever tasted. So there’s that, I guess.
And would it be totally uncool of me to secretly agree with him? It’s not very British and self deprecating of me to speak fondly about something I am proud of, but the thing is: I’m on the verge of entering into a fully committed relationship with this soup. It sits on the table next to me in the evening and keeps me warm, keeps me going through the work day when I need a boost, and I feel all warm and glowy just looking and thinking about it.
I mean, maybe Andrew should be worried?
I get that it might seem a little odd to be whipping out a nice warming soup recipe in the spring. Chunky vegetable soups are our hugs in a bowl during the cold, dark winter nights, right? Surely spring should be the time for light, healthy salads full of fresh spring produce and delicious, comforting roast lamb?
Well, I live in Scotland. And I’m not sure if spring is really here.
So far, it has comprised of a large percentage of rainy, windy days interspersed with sudden glorious and joyful bursts of heat, sunshine and blue skies.
Unfortunately, the sunshine and blue skies are generally outnumbered by their jealous windy, rainy and/or gloomy skied cousins. And on days like these, all I want is that hug in a bowl. But a hug in a bowl that takes under 30 minutes to make, is delicious and nutritious, and uses essential ingredients that I always have on hand.
Enter this farmhouse chicken, vegetable and pesto soup.
My secret ingredients that take this from boring chicken and vegetable soup to ohmygod amazing delicious give me more right now soup? Well as you may already have guessed from this posts’ not so circumspect title… IT’S PESTO. Plus, a little honey for a delicate hint of sweetness. The two ingredients work so well together- I just can’t believe I didn’t think of pesto in soup before.
Carrots and sweet potato make up the bulk of the soup, which is fabulous for many reasons. Firstly, carrots are one of the cheapest vegetables you can buy! For a 1kg bag, you shouldn’t be paying anything more than 80 pence. And if you are, then get out of Harrods. It’s not the place to be buying carrots. They have great nutritional benefits too, as they’re packed with beta carotene, vitamin C and a ton of fibre.
As for sweet potatoes? Well, they’ve become crazy popular in recent years, often taking the place of white potatoes in traditional meals like sausages and mash and Shepherd’s pie. And hey I ain’t mad about it, because they are all kinds of delicious. Soft and tender in texture, with a sweeter and (I think) even more comforting taste than white potatoes, they’re ALSO amazing for your skin, hair and nails thanks to a host of vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D- which isn’t usually found in foods in a high enough content to have much of an effect on our recommended daily intake. I mean, can we agree that sweet potatoes are absolutely kicking goals?
There are a whole load more delicious ingredients in here such as plump garden peas, fresh rosemary and sage and even a creamy splash of almond milk- but I’ll leave you to discover their deliciousness on your own. My work here is done.
Brb, marrying this soup.
- 500g cooked chicken, diced or cut into strips
- 4 slices good quality smoked ham
- 200g sweet potato, diced
- 400g carrots, diced
- 200g peas
- 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 litre chicken stock (I use two Kallo chicken stock cubes)
- 200ml almond milk (unsweetened!)
- 40g pesto
- 20ml honey
- 2tsp chilli flakes
- 4 large sage leaves
- a sprig of fresh rosemary, or 2tsp dried
- Ground black peppercorns to taste
- Boil the carrots and sweet potato and chicken stock in a saucepan over a high heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are almost fully softened.
- Add in the fresh herbs, crushed garlic, pesto, honey, almond milk, chilli flakes (optional), chicken and peas. Stir to combine then leave to boil for another 5 minutes.
- Add in your smoked ham, then leave the soup to simmer until the liquid has reduced slightly and all the flavours have been released- about 5 minutes.
- Season with ground black peppercorns to taste, then serve.
- Note: Unless you have a very large saucepan, I would recommend distributing the ingredients between two saucepans to ensure quicker and more even cooking.
- Protein: 40g
- Carbohydrate: 28.5g
- Fat: 7g
- DISCLAIMER: All macronutrient totals are accurately calculated based on the specific products I used. These totals may vary slightly depending on what brand supplier you use in the case of packaged goods. Therefore, all macronutrients given here are provided as a guideline only.