I want you to do me a little favor: print out this recipe and tuck it away where you won’t forget it. Then, come January or February, or whenever winter delivers a serious one-two punch, pull this recipe out. Make a batch and melt those blizzard blues away. This soup is so rich and thick, you’ll be tempted to call it a stew, which is fine. You may also be running away in fear at the thought of cream soup, thinking it is loaded with butter and heavy cream. Ready for a shocker?
This soup has ZERO butter.
I’m actually surprised I was drawn to this recipe because butter is my life. It also calls for fat free half & half, an ingredient that is foreign to my fridge. Trust me, I’m still scratching my head as to how this soup can taste so darned decadent and yet in theory, should be a relatively low-fat.
If you don’t have time to poach chicken, feel free to use the meat from a rotisserie bird. Actually I think a little dark meat would be a lovely addition. Also, this soup will thicken substantially after adding the gnocchi. I found it helpful to have extra chicken stock on hand to thin out the soup until I achieved the consistency I desired. Last but not least, this soup has been teenager approved in a major way.
Now to find my snow shovel and a matching pair of mittens. Snow, slush and all things winter….I am armed and ready!
Creamy Chicken and Gnocchi Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs (such as Penzey’s Bouquet Garni), optional
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups fat free half-and-half
1 cup lowfat milk
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth plus 1 cup additional broth
16 ounce package potato gnocchi
2 cups cooked, shredded or diced chicken breasts
2 cups lightly packed fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely chopped fresh chives or parsley (optional)
In a 4- or 5-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot and shimmering. Add the chopped onion, carrots, thyme and mixed herbs. Cook until the onion is translucent and carrots are slightly tender, stirring often, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking or stirring constantly, until the flour is lightly golden, 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the half-and-half. Whisk in the milk and 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. Stir while bringing the mixture to a boil over medium to medium-high heat.
Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is slightly thickened, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the uncooked gnocchi and simmer over medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The soup should thicken up quite a bit while the gnocchi is cooking. Add additional chicken stock until you achieve your desired consistency. Stir in the chicken and spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until heated through. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg taste and serve.