This is always such an awkward time of year, food-wise. Part of me is stuck in holiday mode, still binge eating leftover Christmas cookies and every other carb I can get my hands on. While the other half, (knowing that come January I’ll be ready to shape up or ship out) is ready to start reintroducing those leafy greens into my daily routine. Sigh. Sorry, gingerbread men with your cute marshmallow buttons. It seems you’re out of fashion until next year. It’s been fun.
This soup is such a wonderful transition meal. It has all of the holiday, snuggle up with your honey coziness, and all of the ready-to-shed-those-Christmas-pounds healthfulness. Now, keep in mind that I always eat this with tons of toasted bread, topped with heaps of butter, and usually a few glasses of wine. So, there’s that. But still, the soup itself is healthy! It’s also very, very easy to make and extremely delicious!
3 T. bacon fat (or butter, or vegetable oil)
1 store bought rotisserie chicken
4 c. chicken stock
4 c. Spicy Hot V-8 juice (you can use the original flavor, of course, if you prefer a milder flavor)
5 ribs celery, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. shredded cabbage (I like to use bagged cole slaw mix, but you are welcome to shred your own cabbage)
1 c. frozen corn
1 c. frozen peas
1 chicken boullion cube
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
I love a store bought rotisserie chicken. I really do. They taste delicious and cost (usually) about the same as a raw chicken that you’d have to make yourself. I use them all the time.
Start by shredding your chicken, (legs and breasts), with your fingers while the chicken is still warm. If you wait until after it’s been in the fridge for a bit, this job is ten times more difficult. This job also makes you tremendously popular if you have dogs in the house. Set the chicken aside.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- I love bacon fat. I just love it. Whenever I make bacon (often), I save the fat in a mug and store it in the fridge for later cooking. It’s actually difficult for me to think of any dishes I make regularly that I don’t put bacon fat into. So, if you plan on following me and making my recipes often (and you should!), keep that bacon fat!
Start by putting about 3 T. of bacon fat in a large pot on medium heat. Once it has melted, add your mirepoix (which is just a fancy word for the combination of onion, carrot, and celery). Season with salt and pepper.
Once that has been sautéing for a few minutes and starts to make your house smell amazing, add the garlic, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and chicken bouillon cube. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until vegetables have just started to caramelize and your bouillon cube has broken down.
Add both the chicken stock and the V-8 to the pot, stirring everything to combine. Taste the broth for seasoning, and adjust accordingly.
Add shredded chicken, zucchini, and cabbage. Simmer on medium heat for about ten minutes until vegetables are tender.
When vegetables are tender, add the frozen corn and peas. Stir to combine, and simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes.
Remove and discard bay leaves before serving.
Serve with buttery bread in flannel pajamas.