aka what happens when your chicken parm wants to go for a little swim…
This soup makes me giddy. There’s something about serving up my favorite foods in soup form that’s just plain fun. It’s also a really great way to lighten up comfort food and make it deliciously freezer-friendly too! It’s a win-win situation in my book. Plus it’s slurpable. So there’s the added bonus of annoying my husband. I’ll take it!
Like most of my recipes, this chicken parmesan soup underwent typical P&C test kitchen shenanigans. I tried three different cooking methods and ingredient line-ups, which is why it took me so ridiculously long to finally post this soup. Luckily it’s well worth the wait!
Dare I be cliche and say the third time’s the charm?
Cliche or not, it’s downright charming. AND DELICIOUS! Let’s eat!
- 2 lbs chicken breast [weighed post-trimming]
- 1 large can of crushed tomatoes [28 oz]
- 3 cups low-sodium broth [veggie or chicken]
- ¼ tsp salt plus extra to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 large onions, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
- 3 TBSP olive oil or butter
- ½ tsp parsley, plus extra for garnish
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp dried/ground oregano
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- chopped fresh basil, to taste
- crusty bread [1-2 slices for each bowl]
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, to taste
- freshly grated mozzarella cheese, to taste
- note: most broths and canned tomatoes are salted, so beyond seasoning the chicken breast, I typically wait until the very end to add any additional salt and pepper. This way you can season it perfectly to suit your tastes! I've made the soup with an added ½ cup of half and half [for creaminess] and without, both are delicious! Enjoy!
- adapted from Rachel Ray
- For this recipe you can spend a little extra to save a little extra [time] and grab boneless skinless chicken *or* trim your own and save some cash monies.
- Once your chicken is prepped and ready, use a meat tenderizer [I won't tell if you saran wrap your hammer] and pound out the chicken until it's uniform in thickness. This is optional, but will help it cook evenly, and a bit quicker.
- Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and freshly ground black pepper. I used ¼ tsp salt.
- Next heat a large pot [3 quart or larger] to medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil, then add the chicken.
- Cook for about 5 minutes until golden and seared and flip.
- Add 1 cup of broth and cover.
- Cook approx 8-15 minutes until fully cooked and opaque [cook time will vary depending on thickness of your chicken, you can use a thermometer to check if it's reached 165F]
- Once cooked, remove chicken with tongs and shred on a cutting board with two forks.
- If you own a stand mixer you can use [this] nifty trick to shred it super fast!
- Return shredded chicken to the same pot and add crushed tomatoes and 2 additional cups of broth. Simmer covered while you saute the onions.
- Heat a pan to medium heat with 3 tablespoons of butter.
- Saute garlic first, to infuse the butter, then add onions and saute until tender and, if time permits, a teeny bit caramelized.
- Season the onions with parsley, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano and add to the soup.
- Stir in tomato paste and any additional salt and pepper, to taste, and simmer on low until you're ready to dig in.
- I typically let mine sit on the stove-top a little longer while I prep the toasts.
- Stir in shredded basil just before serving.
- Before serving, take this soup to the next level by toasting a few slices of your favorite crusty bread.
- Rub the toasts with minced garlic [use a little or a lot!] and top with freshly grated Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Stick the toasts under the broiler to melt the cheese or simply pop a slice on each bowl of soup and use the microwave to melt it; I love doing this simply because the bread soaks up some of the soup and ends up with a french onion soup-esque topping that sends me swooning.
going gluten-free? you can skip the bread altogether or use your favorite GF varitey!
Alternatively, you can absolutely cook this bad boy in the slow cooker. My crock-pot test batch was delicious, but the chicken spent so much time getting up close and personal with the veggies that it straight up took over the flavor profile of the dish. As far as soups go, I loved it, friends and family loved it, but we all also agreed that we loved the stove-top version the best, so do with it what you may! If you break out the slow cooker, the flavors will be a little bit different, and I highly suggest carving out a few prep minutes to saute the garlic and onion before adding them to the pot. Cook on high for no more than 4 hours [or low for 6-8], fish out the whole chicken breasts with a pair of tongs, shred, and return to the pot. The key when slow cooking tomato based soups is to avoid over-cooking. Stir in fresh basil just before serving and top with your garlicky parm-toast topping. It was good, but the technique in the recipe above totally won me over like a squealing fangirl.
To freeze, simply pour into your favorite freezer-friendly container, leaving about an inch at the top [soup often expands when frozen], pop it in the freezer, and defrost on a rainy day! Now you’ll have delicious fast food without the fuss! =)
If you’re a fan of that ridiculously awesome crouton/cheese combo on top of French Onion Soup you’re going to flip over this. Depending on how you feel about your soup accessories, you can simply dunk the crusty, crunchy, cheesy, toasts into your hot soup and use it as a bonus utensil or allow the garlicky bread and cheese to soak up the delicious broth as you scoop it apart bit by bit with your spoon.
My long winded descriptions do this no justice. Your butt: get it in the kitchen! Stat!