Even though it hit 60 degrees in Northern Virginia this past week, I have to remind myself that it is still February after all…the season of soup! (Although let’s be real, I eat soup year around). Over the holidays, C came home with a large Tupperware of his mother’s Chicken Fagioli Soup that was chock full of lean chicken, carrots that still had a hint of crunch, white beans, and a tomato broth thick like gravy. Oh the glory!
What made the soup even better was the side of homemade cornbread. Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of cornbread, even though I lived in the South twice (I also hate barbeque…I didn’t fit in). “Mama K’s Cornbread,” as I lovingly call it, is unlike any cornbread I have ever tasted. It is dense, yet moist, and has a delightful hint of sweetness. Come to find out, the recipe contained two ingredients I never would have guessed: Non-Fat Greek Yogurt and Lighter Bake, a fruit puree based oil/butter/margarine replacement that is naturally 100% fat and cholesterol free. The final stand out touch? Fresh yellow corn kernels. Needless to say, these were two recipes I had to have…
The recreation of Mama K’s Chicken Fagioli and Cornbread was a big success. How do I measure success, you ask? C, upon savoring a bowl and a hearty slice, said that the two “tasted just like Mama’s.” Score. This soup is overflowing with flavor (much like my pot, pictured above) and is easily adaptable. Want to pump up the vegetable volume with celery? Or better yet, fresh Kale? You just increased this soup’s deliciousness factor.
Gluten-Free Chicken Fagioli
*Feeds a family of 5, with ample leftovers for freezing
3 large chicken breasts, pan fried with Smart Balance spray
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed with garlic press
3 cans (15.5 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 cans (15 oz) Hunt’s tomato sauce
6 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4″ thick
20oz-32oz can of chicken broth (depending on desired soup thickness)
Oregano, parsley, white pepper, and mint to taste
1. Pan fry 3 large chicken breasts with Smart Balance or a little olive oil. Dice into bite size pieces and set aside.
2. Saute onion and garlic in large pot until translucent. Add a little bit of the chicken broth to the bottom of the pot to prevent the onion and garlic from sticking.
3. Add half the beans and half the tomato sauce to the pot. Emulsify with a hand blender or traditional blender until smooth.
4. Add remaining beans and tomato sauce as well as diced chicken and carrots. Stir to combine.
5. Add chicken broth gradually based on desired thickness, stir.
5. Season to taste and cook about 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, so that the carrots are al dente.
6. Top with Locatelli Pecorino-Romano cheese, if desired, and serve.
7. Freeze the leftovers. Trust me, you’ll have some.
Gluten Free Cornbread
*Also great for freezing!
1 1/4 cups ground yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup Gluten Free Bisquick
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking power
3/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup Lighter Bake
1 cup fresh (if frozen, thaw first) yellow corn kernels
1. Pre-heat Oven to 400 degrees F. Coat 9″ round or 8″ square dish with cooking spray.
2. Combine cornmeal, Bisquick, sugar, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, Lighter Bake, and egg. Pour over dry ingredients and stir to combine.
4. Add corn kernels to batter and stir gently until just blended.
5. Pour batter into dish.
6. Bake 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
7. If desired, serve with butter or fresh jam.