Winters are short here in the south. The few times we do have icy weather everything shuts down. We simply close our doors and wait for it to melt. If there is a hint of precipitation during a cold spell the list of school and business closures becomes quite long. People panic, like they will be shut in for months, and go buy everything in the grocery store. For some reason people here love to buy milk during a storm; I have seen people out in the worst of the storm buying carts full of milk. Not sure what one does with nine gallons of milk but it must bring them some kind of comfort. I am sure it gives our neighbors to the north quite a chuckle. It should, it is silly how we react, it just happens so infrequently here that we are ill prepared. Personally, I enjoy the cold and I enjoy the days where things are closed down because that usually means time at home cooking some of my favorite foods! When the cold sets in it is time to cook soups, stews, braised meats with think rich sauces. I love it.
There is nothing better on a cold winter day than a big bowl of hot soup. Here in our house we have really been on a soup kick lately. One of our favorites is Chicken gnocchi soup. It’s a cream based soup that I first had at a popular Italian restaurant chain. Their version is mostly a cream broth with little bits of vegetables, chicken and some gnocchi here and there. It’s good, but could be improved upon. I tend to like chunky soups, so my version has big chunks of vegetables and chicken with plenty of gnocchi! Best of all, it is gluten free. You can make your own gnocchi, or for a quick dinner you can get some pre-made boxed gnocchi. Not all gnocchi are gluten-free, so check ingredients. We found a brand called Delallo that has some great gluten free gnocchi, orzo and pastas. There are other brands on the market, but this is the one that we enjoy. One box is enough for one batch of soup for 4-6 people. When making soup you want everything cut to bite size chunks, it should fit on the spoon easily. Like I said I like chunky soups, so I cute large bite sized pieces that still fit on the spoon without hanging off.
Chicken Gnocchi Soup (Gluten Free) serves 4-6 people
3 T Butter
2 T Olive Oil
¾ C Diced Onion
½ C Diced Celery
½ C Diced Carrot
4 cloves Garlic
4 C Chicken Broth
1 ½ C Half-N- Half
2 C Cooked Chicken (Shredded or Diced)
1 box Gnocchi
3 C Fresh Spinach
2 T Chopped Basil
1/3 C White Rice Flour
Salt & Pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large pot heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrots. Season with salt & pepper. Add garlic. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Sprinkle flour over vegetables and stir. Cook 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in chicken broth, one cup at a time. Add the half-n-half.
Add cooked chicken and bring to a simmer. Let simmer 20 minutes.
Season with salt & pepper.
Cook gnocchi separately according to package directions. Once cooked add to the soup along with the spinach, simmer until spinach is wilted. Stir in chopped basil. Cook two minutes.
Serve with grated or shaved parmesan cheese.