Chicken Pastina Soup with Escarole

This is satisfying and soul-warming, with the aromas of garlic, olive oil and chicken, contrasted perfectly with the slight bitterness of the escarole

1 Whole Chicken (5 – 6 lbs)
2 Stalks Celery, cut bite-sized, including leafy tops
1 Large Whole Onion, peeled and quartered
2 Large Whole Carrots, peeled and sliced into disks or strips
1 Head Garlic
2 Bags Escarole, washed and cut
1/2 Box Pastina (very tiny pasta)
2 Bay Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Put the chicken in the pot and add water to just barely cover.
  • Slowly bring to a very gentle simmer (don’t let it boil!)
    and cook for 2 – 3 hours, until the chicken is very soft and almost falling
    apart. Skim off any scum that forms on the surface.
  • Remove chicken, cool in refrigerator and save for other uses (sandwiches, add to soup, etc.)
  • Simmer stock uncovered until reduced by 1/2, or until it tastes like chicken, and not watery. Add salt and pepper to taste. Do not add the salt and pepper until after you have reduced the stock, or it will be too salty
  • Cook the pastina according to directions on box
  • Add vegetables, including 1/2 head of garlic, smashed, and the bay leaves (excluding the Escarole) to the soup and return to a gentle simmer. Cook uncovered until the veggies are soft
  • Mince 1/2 head of garlic. Coat the bottom of a pot with the Olive Oil, add the garlic and sauté on medium until the garlic is soft and fragrant but not brown. Remove the garlic and discard. Add the escarole, increase heat to high and cook until Escarole is wilted, tossing frequently.
  • Pour soup (optionally through a strainer) into pot with Escarole, add cooked pastina and gently simmer
  • Serve with fresh Ciabatta Bread

Serves 6 to 8