This rustic butterbean chicken soup gets a delicious flavour boost with the addition of a simple rocket pesto.
My husband and I see eye to eye on most things… except for soup! He maintains that soup is not food – i.e not satisfying enough to be had on its own for lunch or dinner. He is, of course, totally wrong as I have taken pains to point out the past 20 years. Not only is soup FOOD, it is good food. I rely almost entirely on soups for my winter lunches and so I like to try different ingredient combinations to keep things interesting.
This rustic butterbean chicken soup with rocket pesto is my current favourite – and I think it will become yours as well! It is, like most soups, so easy to prepare, but what takes it to the next level is the rocket pesto. It transforms an already delicious soup to addictively yummy. Should you have any leftover pesto, you can use it on pasta or even as a dip.
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Butterbean chicken soup with rocket pesto
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 200 g | 7 oz mini chicken breasts or use leftover roast chicken
- 2 x400g 14oz tins butterbeans, drained and rinsed
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 1 large carrot finely diced
- 1 leek white part only, finely diced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste or a large tomato seeded and finely diced
- 100 g | 3.5oz small pasta like stellini
- 1 litre | 4 cups hot chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 bay leaf
- handful fresh basil roughly chopped
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- <b>For the rocket pesto</b>
- 200 g | 7oz fresh rocket arugula
- large handful basil leaves
- 100 g | 3 1/2oz grated Parmesan plus extra to sprinkle on soup
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + water to thin pesto if needed
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- Blend half a tin of butterbeans in a blender and set aside.
- Make the pesto: blitz all the ingredients in a blender or mini chopper, adding a bit of water if it needs thinning. Transfer to a bowl.
- Heat the oil in a large pot. Pan fry the chicken breasts (if using fresh) and brown on all sides. Set aside.
- Add the chopped vegetables and fry, stirring occasionally, until softened 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and add the butterbeans and butterbean purée, chicken and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Add the pasta and cook for a further 10 minutes (or as per package instructions). Remove the chicken from the pot, shred, and return to the soup.
- Taste the soup and season.
- Serve the soup with some of the pesto, an extra drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of Parmesan and some crusty bread.
oh god this looks like such a wonderfully warming soup and I adore the idea of the pesto on top, what a great idea!
What a beautiful, tasty spring soup! The rocket pesto is a gorgeous idea, reminding of the French soupe au pistou. Have a great weekend!
Lucy Parissi says
Yes it is inspired by pistou soup which is another one of my absolute favourites 🙂
Laura (Untwisted Vintage) says
I agree with you. Soup is GOOD food! I love the idea of adding the rocket pesto.
Luci's Morsels says
Yum! I like the suggestion to use left over roast chicken. What a great idea!
I love soups especially in the cooler weather and Winter is not done here yet.. This looks like a great recipe to have on hand.
Another dinner recipe of yours I want to try. I’m not usually keen on rocket but I think I might like it in a pesto so I’m still going to make that part too