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Escarole Soup with Rice and Chicken

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 small, or half of a large head of escarole
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup long-grained rice
  • 6 cups chicken broth (homemade) or 4 cups canned plus 2 cups water
  • 1-2 pieces (about 2 inch square) of Reggiano Parmesan cheese rind
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Separate the escarole leaves from the stem. Wash the leaves well, and chop roughly. Peel and slice the onion, and peel and mince the garlic.

Heat a heavy non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat. Add the oil, and then the onion, and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and starting to take on a golden color, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, stir once or twice, and add the escarole.  Season ingredients lightly with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until the escarole is well wilted. Add the rice and broth, the parmesan rind, and the uncut chicken thighs. Bring to a simmer, and cook without ever boiling until the chicken is just cooked (when pierced with a fork, the juices run clear), about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken, and continue to simmer until the rice is cooked and the escarole tender. Shred the chicken, add it back, and taste and re-season. You will probably need more salt if using homemade, unsalted broth.

Serve hot, with some grated Parmesan. Don’t serve the Parmesan rinds!