Chicken Gnocchi Soup is the ultimate healthy comfort food. Loaded with vegetables and packed with flavor, Chicken Gnocchi Soup is your new favorite food.
In this country, during this time of year, you are either on one side of the debate, or the other. You have a preference, and you feel very strongly about it. You’ll defend your beliefs to your friends, family, and on Facebook. YOU know what is good for yourself and everyone around you. No matter your feelings, all of us fall into two very different camps.
You either like your soup brothy or thick.
There is no middle ground.
There is no third party.
These are your choices. Brothy, or stewy.
A few weeks ago, I “winged” a soup recipe, and we all loved it. Well, Jack only complained mildly about it, which frankly is like getting a Michelin star. I saw some gnocchi in the pantry and wanted to use it up, but other than that, I had no solid plan going in. A few weeks ago was a stressful time for our family, and when I am stressed out, I do one of three things (or even a combo of them): 1) I instantly shut down and don’t want to talk to anyone for about two hours so I can process 2) I cook or 3) I clean. Not like surface cleaning, but like using an old toothbrush, q-tips, and rubbing alcohol on the remote cleaning. On this random day, I chose option two, cooking.
For me, there is very little that can calm my brain, and slow my racing heart more than cooking. The systematic chopping, dicing, peeling, and sauteing, lulls me into a rhythm that focuses me on the task at hand. Throwing veggies in a hot pan with some butter and olive oil doesn’t take a lot of brain power, but it also doesn’t let your mind wander too far. Those veggies need stirring, and in the meantime, you need to be assembling your other ingredients.
Focus Sarah, breathe. Right now, this moment, we’re making soup. We’re not thinking about scary things or what might be. We’re making soup.
As I stood over the stove, adding stuff, tasting, and adding more ingredients, my shoulders relaxed, my jaw unclenched a bit, and I was able to be present in a really simple task for a blissful 30 minutes.
I served the Chicken Gnocchi Soup that night with some bread and salad. Probably. I don’t really remember. But I do remember taking a bite and feeling happy. The taste was great, Troy loved it, I loved it, and Jack tolerated it. It was one of those soups that fills your belly but also gives you a hug from the inside. I took my mom a mug, and she too loved it. When we first got the news about her cancer, she went through a period of barely eating due to stress. The day after I made this soup, I asked what she wanted for lunch. She sighed and said “nothing, I’m not hungry”. I told her I had some leftover soup, and she said “maybe I’ll try a few bites”. The mug was empty when I returned.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup wasn’t just something that made us full, it was a warm bowl of hope that made us whole. At least for the afternoon.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 7 carrots peeled and chopped
- 6 stalks of celery cut down the middle and chopped
- 1 small onion diced
- 4 cloves of garlic chopped or pressed
- 3 tsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp dried tarragon double or triple if using fresh
- 1 tsp dried parsley double or triple if using fresh
- 1 tsp dried thyme double or triple if using fresh
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- Few gentle shakes of red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup chicken awesome way to use leftovers from a roasted chicken. Or fresh is great too!
- 2 cups half and half*
- 8 cups of chicken broth an excellent time to use homemade
- 1 package of shelf-stable gnocchi or three cups of homemade.
In a heavy pan (like a dutch oven), combine butter and olive oil over medium heat. Once butter is melted, add carrots, celery, and onions, stirring to combine. After about 10 minutes of cooking, add the garlic. If using raw diced chicken, add here. Cook for 5-10 more minutes.
Sprinkle flour over the veg and chicken, and gently stir to combine. Slowly add the half and half, stirring to combine. Add the chicken broth and parsley, tarragon, thyme, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper.
Crank the heat up to medium-high, and bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Stirring constantly, cook on medium-high for 2-4 minutes. Once the mixture seems to thicken up and looks a bit cloudy, add the gnocchi, and reduce heat to medium-low. You'll need to keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. If using already cooked chicken, add that now.
The soup is ready when the (raw) chicken is cooked through, and your kitchen smells like happiness.
Through blogging over the years, I have learned that half and half seems to be an American ingredient. It is basically a mixture of heavy cream and milk. If you can't find it in stores near you, simply use 1 cup heavy cream, and 1 cup of your preferred milk.