I know what you’re thinking. Another soup recipe? Isn’t spring in the air? I know. I know. But, really, it’s a bit chilly today. And I guess I have a confession to make …I just love soup. Doesn’t matter what month we’re in. Alright, so if it’s ninety degrees with typical South Jersey humidity, I might pass on that hot bowl of goodness. But only then. This a hearty one, for sure. The moment you add the tortellini, this soup becomes substantial enough to be considered a meal in a bowl.
It’s a good idea to get all of your vegetables prepped before heating up that pot. Really, the garlic and onions cook for just a few minutes before adding the carrots, celery and parsley. For the cooked chicken breast, try one of those rotisserie chickens at your local market. We prefer the white meat in this household, so we always look for the prepared chicken breast instead of the whole bird. There’s plenty of meat for a big pot of soup plus some extra for a sandwich or two.
If you don’t happen to have fresh oregano in the house, you can substitute with some of the dried stuff. But, just so you know …using the fresh version is so much better. While we’re on the subject of fresh ingredients, let’s talk about spinach. I used to use frozen chopped spinach in this soup. Don’t get me wrong …it was good. But after upgrading to fresh baby spinach, there’s no turning back for me.
And as I’ve always said …add that pasta just before serving. Or wait until the soup cools down a bit, before adding it to the whole batch. Okay, it’s time to get that cheese and bread ready. And enjoy!
chicken tortellini soup
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped (1 1/2 cup / 7.5 ounces)
- 4 stalks celery, sliced (1 1/2 cup / 6.5 ounces)
- 7 carrots, sliced (3 cups / 14 ounces)
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 - 46 ounce cans chicken broth
- 1 - 28 ounce can tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped (or generous pinch of dried oregano)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded (16 ounces)
- 2-inch parmesan cheese rind (optional)
- 11 ounces fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 12 ounces frozen peas
- 16 ounces frozen cheese tortellini
- kosher or sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1 1/2 ounce)
In a stock pot or dutch oven of at least 8 quart capacity, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion; sauté for about 3 minutes. Once translucent, add celery, carrot and parsley. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes. Lightly season with salt and pepper.
Add chicken broth, tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, cheese rind (if using) and chicken. Bring to a boil. While waiting for broth to boil, partially cook the peas in a separate pot or in the microwave oven. Add the peas to the soup. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
While soup is simmering, cook the cheese tortellini until al dente according to package directions. Do not add salt to the water. When finished, set aside.
Add fresh baby spinach to soup. Stir to combine. Simmer for additional 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and optional cheese rind. If necessary, season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Place generous amount of tortellini in bottom of bowl, cover with hot soup and top off with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
NOTE: Allow soup to cool down in pot before adding remaining tortellini.