Chicken Minestrone Soup w/Pesto & Leeks

by Rachel on April 28, 2011

The fingerling potatoes are much more interesting looking than the soup. So sue me.

My nine year-old son has been on a tear in the kitchen lately.  He grabs an apron, starts opening drawers in the fridge and demands that we create something new right then and there.  No waiting around.  No checking cookbooks.  No rest for the weary.  Two days ago it was leek and mushroom quiche.  Today it was soup.  He’s got a great sense of what works together and sent me to the pantry for oregano and basil to go with his chopped leeks and onions.  I was then told to get tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes, as well as a couple of chicken breasts.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that all this kid needs is a little assistance with quantities and he’s good to go.  The end result of our 40 minutes in the kitchen was this lovely Minestrone – one that’s darn easy to make and tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen.  Keep an eye out for my nine year-old.  He’ll be on Iron Chef one day and I’ll be the proud mum in the audience saying, “I knew him when…”

Just the soup, and nothing but the soup.

Chicken Minestrone Soup with Leeks & Pesto (8 servings)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon best quality butter
  • 1 cup white or yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 leeks, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup white wine
  • Two 32-oz boxes organic chicken broth
  • 1 cube of chicken bouillon or two packets of chicken concentrate (I use TJ’s Savory Broth Reduced Sodium Chicken Concentrate OR Savory Choice Liquid Chicken Broth Concentrate – you’ll find the first option at Trader Joe’s and the second option at Whole Foods or most upscale markets)
  • 1 15-oz can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 15-oz can organic chopped tomatoes
  • 1 lb fingerling potatoes, sliced into ½ inch rounds (I don’t peel the potatoes)
  • 2 large skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • One 6-8 oz jar prepared pesto (jars of pesto vary in size, depending on the brand – I use TJ’s which is 6.7 oz)

Soup and raw potatoes.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven.  Add the onions, leeks, celery, carrots, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes.  Sauté on medium heat for 10-12 minutes.  Add the white wine and bring to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Add the chicken broth, canned tomatoes (with their juices), tomato sauce, pesto, whole chicken breasts and the fingerling potatoes.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken and potatoes are cooked through.  Remove the chicken with a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon.  Chop the chicken into bite-size cubes.  Return to the soup.  Let the soup simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Serve.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Staci May 5, 2011 at 11:39 am

This sounds so good! I love soup…love love love it. And my little girls do too. Looking forward to making this! :) Thanks! (oh, and I’m hoping one day both my kiddos will be cooking up a storm in the kitchen with me!)

Rachel May 5, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Staci: If you commit to it – you will absolutely have two kids in the kitchen. I marvel at the skills my kids have already – but they have been in the kitchen with me forever. Both boys are going to be excellent cooks and one of them, the latter born, is a chef in the making. Good luck with your wee ones!

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