Chicken and Vegetable Soup with Butter Beans

By • January 8, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This is one of the soups that my mom made regularly when I was growing up. When I asked her for the recipe, she basically told me that there isn't one. The key parts of the soup, though, are the homemade broth and the combination of vegetables used: it's always onion, carrot, celery, tomato, potato, corn, and butter beans.pantryhero

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Makes 3 1/2 quarts

For the broth:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 14 cups water
  • 1 medium onion, root end left intact, peeled and quartered
  • 5 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the flat side of a knife
  • 2 medium carrots, halved once lengthwise and once crosswise
  • 3 celery stalks, cut into about 4" lengths
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole allspice, lightly crushed
  • a few sprigs fresh herbs, whatever you have on hand. I used rosemary, thyme, and sage.
  1. Rinse the chicken and remove the innards.
  2. Put everything in a large stockpot. I like to use a tea infuser ball instead of cheesecloth for the peppercorns and allspice. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a bare simmer. Cook for about 2 hours, flipping the chicken once if it won't stay fully submerged.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pot, but keep the stock at a simmer. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat off of it, but do not discard the skin and bones. Refrigerate or freeze the meat; you will use some of it in the soup.
  4. Put the chicken skin and bones back into the stockpot, partially cover the pot, and continue to simmer for another 3 hours or so. Strain the stock into a bowl or container, let it cool some, and then refrigerate it. The fat on top of the stock will congeal; remove as much or as little of it as you want. I ended up with about 8 cups of stock.

For the soup:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow or white onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 3 celery stalks, trimmed and cut into about 1/4" sliced
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into about 1/4" slices
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 14 ounces whole tomatoes in juice
  • 8 cups homemade broth
  • 16 ounces frozen butter beans (lima beans)
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold or other boiling potato, peeled and chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 15 ounces whole kernel corn
  • 12 ounces shredded or diced chicken from the meat you reserved (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  1. In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrots, 1/4 tsp. of the kosher salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, under the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the oregano, tomatoes, and the remaining 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Break the tomatoes up with the back of a wooden spoon, then add the bay leaves and stock. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
  3. Add the butter beans and simmer for 10 more minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes and simmer for 10 more minutes,
  5. Add the chicken and corn, and simmer until heated through, about 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove the bay leaves and adjust seasoning to taste before serving.

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