We’ve had plenty of cool, crisp nights recently in New England, signaling that fall is finally underway. Produce aisles at grocery stores as well as bins at local farmers’ markets certainly reflect the new season. Cold weather squashes, including butternut and pumpkin, hearty vegetables like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and countless varieties of apples and pears are temptingly displayed, enticing me to pull out my favorite recipes for this time of the year. Creamy Chicken Soup with Autumn Vegetable is one such dish. I consider it comfort food at its best.
The recipe, which appeared on this blog several years ago and then was included in my 2016 book Soup Nights, has been popular with followers who have written enthusiastically about it. Simple to assemble, it is hearty yet not heavy, and definitely satisfying enough to serve as a main course.
Like most cream of chicken soups, this one is thickened with a little flour, but the similarities end there. An unexpected addition of diced butternut squash, sliced Brussels sprouts, and Baby Bella mushrooms enhance this special version, while some half-and- half enriches it.
For the two cups of diced chicken called for, you can purchase good quality rotisserie chicken. If you have extra roast turkey, it would be equally good in this soup. Add a salad such as Oak Leaf and Apple Salad with Honey Cider Dressing, , some warm crusty breadand a scrumptious dessert like Carrot Cake with Orange Syrup and Crème Fraîche Icing. Happy Fall Cooking!
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Creamy Chicken Soup with Autumn Vegetables
4 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 cups diced butternut squash, cut into 1/2-in cubes (see market note)
4 oz small Brussels sprouts, ends cut off, cut lengthwise into 1/4-in-thick slices
4 oz small brown (Baby Bella) mushrooms, cut into 1/4-in-thick slices
1/2 cup thinly sliced leeks
2 1/2 tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth plus extra if needed
1 1/2 cups Half-and-Half
1 1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary (see market note)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups cooked, cubed chicken (or turkey) cut into 1/2-in dice ( A good quality rotisserie bird works fine.)
Fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish (optional)
1. in a large, heavy pot set over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp of the butter and the canola oil. Add the butternut squash and Brussels sprouts and sauté, stirring frequently, 3 minutes. Next, add the mushrooms, and stir and cook the mixture 3 minutes more. Add the leeks 1/2 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Continue to cook, stirring often, until vegetables are lightly browned and just tender, 2 minutes or more. Remove the vegetables and set aside.
2. To the same pot add the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons butter and when melted, stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add the, broth, Half-and-Half, 1 1/2 tsp rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper, and whisk until the mixture comes to a good simmer and thickens slightly, 4 minutes or more.
3. Return the vegetables to the pot and also add the chicken. Cook until the chicken and vegetables are heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. If needed, season the soup with salt and pepper. (The soup can be prepared 1 day ahead; cool, cover, and refrigerate. Reheat over medium heat stirring often. If the soup is too thick, thin with extra stock.)
Serves 4 to 5
Market Notes: Some stores sell butternut squash peeled, seeded, and packaged. If you can find it this way, it’s a big time saver.
Also, use crushed dried rosemary, rather than whole dried rosemary leaves that you crush yourself. It can be found in the spice section of most supermarkets. McCormick’s is a readily-available brand.
Adapted from Soup Nights by Betty Rosbottom, Rizzoli (2016)