Photo courtesy of Matthew Mead
Casseroles and pasta dishes are sure-fire comforts during winter, but nothing soothes the soul and warms the body like a steaming bowl of soup. Remember when Mom or Grandma cooked up a batch of hearty chicken noodle when you were under the weather? The broth, the morsels of tender chicken and veggies made everything better.
You can try to replicate the soup you had as a child and serve it to your own family—or you can cook up a batch of something just as delicious and heart-warming. The following recipe for parmesan and polenta chicken soup, from The Art of Pantry Cooking: Meals for Family and Friends (Rizzoli 2022), will satisfy everyone at your table. It’s easy to make and can work as a starter—but it’s hearty enough to eat as a main course.
Rustic Parmesan and Polenta Chicken Soup
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 shallot, diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
½ cup stoneground yellow cornmeal
1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
8 oz. baby spinach leaves
2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper, coarsely ground
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes until tender.
Add the stock to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the cornmeal to the stock in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Whisk in the cheese and simmer for 1 additional minute. Stir in the spinach and chicken.
Simmer until the spinach is wilted and the chicken is heated through, 3 to 5 minutes. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and drizzle with olive oil.
Photo and recipe reprinted with permission from The Art of Pantry Cooking: Meals for Family and Friends by Ronda Carman. Photos by Matthew Mead. Rizzoli 2022.