we spent the second to last weekend in september at barktoberfest, an annual fundraiser for lollypop farm, the humane society of greater rochester. we have gone the last four or five years, watching our team grow from four of us raising a couple hundred dollars to our friend susie raising thousands and gathering up a team of more than thirty! this year was especially fun since we brought baby winn with us.
one thing that was not fun: the weather. it was cold. it was dark. it was rainy. it wasn't the best day to be out walking through the woods. at some point late in the morning, someone mentioned going to olive garden for soup, salad, and bread afterwards. you didn't have to ask me twice! that was the only thing i could think about. a couple hours later we made our way there.
between the four of us, we sampled each soup. their newest, chicken florentine, was really delicious. as i was eating it, i realized how simple it was - a thin tomato base with potatoes, chicken, and spinach - and how easy it would be to make at home!
creamy chicken florentine soup
soup base adapted from smitten kitchen
45 minutes, serves 6
the base is a thick, creamy tomato soup. if you prefer your soup to be thinner and more broth-like, i suggest only using one can of tomatoes or replace the tomatoes with tomato sauce.
2 28 ounce cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
2 tablespoons flour
6 cups chicken stock
3 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
4 cups loosely packed baby spinach
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 to 1 cup half and half
- preheat your oven to 450F. drain the canned tomatoes, saving the liquid, and place the tomatoes in a baking dish. sprinkle with brown sugar and bake about 30 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.
- while the tomatoes bake, melt the butter in a stock pot over medium low heat. add the shallots and saute until translucent. sprinkle with flour and cook until the flour is light golden brown, whisking continuously.
- while whisking, add in the chicken stock. be sure to whisk so there aren't any lumps. once all the chicken stock has been added, add the tomatoes and the reserved drained liquid. using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth.
- bring the soup to a boil and add the potatoes. reduce heat to a simmer and cook about ten minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through.
- mix in the chicken and baby spinach and cook until heated through and the spinach is wilted, a few minutes. stir in the cheese and half and half until the cheese is melted. season with salt and peooer and serve with crusty bread.