Green Chicken Soup with Chickpeas and Sizzled Spices

SERVES: 6-8

This yields quite a bit of soup (12 cups), but it freezes and reheats quite well so I figure, might as well big batch it. If you’re cooking for 2, you can halve this entire recipe. The soup gets its bright green color from being puréed with spinach and herbs. It’s an extra step, and one you can totally skip if you’re not feeling up for blending hot liquids, but I think it makes the soup super special!!

Active Time: 1 hr

Total Time: 1.5 hrs

Green Chicken Soup with Chickpeas and Sizzled Spices

Produce

  • 1 large leek
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 1 large or 2 small stalks celery
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 8 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 large bunch dill
  • ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 3 lemons

Pantry

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained but unrinsed
  • 1 cup pearled barley, brown rice, white rice, or quick cooking farro
  • 1 heaping tablespoon coriander seeds
  • Flaky sea salt

Dairy

  • Yogurt, labne, or sour cream, for serving

Meat

  • 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

1. Do some prep

  • Trim the hairy ends of 1 leek and discard. Slice the entire leek (including the dark green part of the stalk) in half and rinse well under cold water to remove any dirt and grit from all layers. Thinly slice crosswise into half moons.
  • Peel and roughly chop 1 onion.
  • Chop 1 large or 2 small stalks of celery.
  • Peel, smash and roughly chop 6 cloves of garlic.

2. Saute your aromatics and start the soup:

  • In a large dutch oven, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks, onions, and celery, season with 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Decrease heat if necessary to prevent browning.
  • Add chopped garlic and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring, until garlic is softened and aromatic, about 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add 10 cups of water, 1 can drained (but unrinsed!) garbanzo beans, 1 cup pearled barley, 1½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. As foam comes to the surface, skim with a spoon and discard.
  • Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and let cook until chicken and barley are tender and soup is reduced and thickened, about 35-45 minutes.

3. While the soup simmers, make the sizzled coriander oil:

  • With a slow, steady movement, carefully chop 1 heaping tablespoon of coriander seeds with a chef’s knife, or crush with the bottom of a heavy skillet. (Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle and pound until coarsely crushed.)
  • Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, along with ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Saute until aromatic and sizzling, and coriander appears lightly toasted. Transfer to a small bowl and season to taste with flaky sea salt.

4. Finish the soup:

  • Remove chicken from soup. Transfer to a cutting board and shred into large pieces.
  • Add 8 ounces baby spinach to the pot. Fold until just wilted, about 1 minute.
  • Roughly chop 1 large bunch of cilantro, including tender stems. This should measure about 2 cups, packed. Roughly chop enough dill from 1 bunch to measure ⅔ cup, packed. Set half of the herbs aside for finishing.
  • Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender, along with the remaining half of the dill and cilantro. Puree until very smooth and green. Add puree back into the soup, along with the shredded chicken, ⅔ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, and remaining chopped dill and cilantro.
  • Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, divide among serving bowls, and serve, topped with a fat dollop of yogurt and a drizzle of sizzled coriander oil.