The sun has been hiding behind the clouds here in San Diego for the past few days. Or weeks; I’m starting to lose count. But that’s just an excuse to swirl a generous dollop of unsalted butter in my Dutch oven before tossing in everything but the kitchen sink for an easy, everyday chicken soup that anyone can make.
My great aunt Betty was the master of creating a meal fit for kings out of leftover scraps. She’d peer into her refrigerator, survey the offerings, and distract any helpers with a stiff drink. What would emerge was her latest “kitchen sink” creation, as in everything but.
So this soup is in homage to Aunt Betty, and to all those home cooks out there who would rather make soup than toss past-their-prime ingredients.
You’ll notice this is basically built on the foundation of my Easy Everyday Vegetable Soup. I did swing by the store to pick up a rotisserie turkey breast; obviously leftover chicken would do just fine. I diluted the broth with equal parts stock and water because I wanted a lighter, clearer broth with less sodium, since I’m using store-bought chicken stock and turkey breast. The fennel is a fabulous fall addition, especially because it’s so readily available right now. Plus there’s that signature licorice flavor that’s a nice surprise in an otherwise hearty soup. I used buckwheat instead of rice because I love the texture, and because it reminds me of the canned beef and barley soup we used to eat as kids. And it’s an easy add: I prepared a pound of buckwheat ahead of time, used half in this soup, and froze the rest for whatever comes next. Which in my case will most likely be soup.
Easy Everyday Chicken & Buckwheat Soup
This soup couldn’t be easier to pull together, especially with the help of prepared chicken or turkey and pre-chopped veggies. If you’ve got some frozen buckwheat in the freezer, all the better. If you work fast and don’t dawdle, you can have this on the table in under an hour.
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
4 medium red potatoes skin-on and sliced
3 carrots, diced
4 celery sticks, diced
1 fennel bulbs, chopped
2 cups prepared buckwheat
1 turkey breast, shredded (or 1 roasted chicken, shredded)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Add the butter to a large Dutch oven or soup pot, warm over medium heat.
- Add the onion and garlic, sauté until tender, about five minutes.
- Add the stock and water; cover, increase heat to high and bring just to a boil.
- Add the potatoes and simmer over medium-high heat until just about tender, about 15 minutes.
- Add the carrots, celery and fennel and simmer over medium heat until the carrots are tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the turkey, buckwheat and thyme, simmer a few minutes more, and season to taste.
- Serve immediately.