Lately, all I’ve wanted to make in the kitchen is soup — this lemon-kale chicken soup in particular. And all I’ve wanted as a background soundtrack to our days is this playlist. Both are mellow and perfect for hunkering down on cold days.
November was a pretty full month for us with a string of birthdays, visits from family, travels and lots of movement in general. The energy of our days matched up to the unusually warm weather as we ran around coatless (and a tad disoriented) when typically we’d be having snow days and cozying up indoors.
But now? I can feel a shift toward slowness.
We had an actual snow day last week. Coats and hats are back on their respective hooks for good, and flannel sheets are tucked into beds. The kids are happiest at home right now, building elaborate forts in the living room or turning the kitchen into a mess of construction paper and art projects. My tea kettle is back on the stove, ready to be fired up several times a day now, and I ordered a grown-up tea box to replace the disorganized, towering jumble of tea cartons in our pantry. It’s kind of like we’ve nested for winter … and now we just wait.
My energy typically takes a big dip beginning in December, and this month is no exception. Living with autoimmune diseases, I’ve become extremely sensitive to my ever-changing energy levels and ration myself out accordingly. It takes energy and commitment to heal our minds and bodies, and although all the time I spend in the kitchen cooking mostly autoimmune paleo foods is quite worth the effort …. all the same, it’s still a lot of effort. When I need to eat but don’t have the motivation to do big batch cooking sessions, this soup is my go to. This is also my go-to sick soup for our family and others … chances are, if I drop dinner off at your doorstep, this is what’s in the crock pot. AND, it’s really yummy as a breakfast soup if you’re just easing into an AIP diet.
This soup is bone broth-based, which packs a ton of minerals and gut-healing properties, but more importantly for feeding a family of four … my people will actually eat it. As with almost all of my AIP soup recipes, as a last step before serving this to the rest of my family, I simply add gluten-free pasta or rice to everyone else’s bowls in order to provide a bit more substance and make it more enticing. It’s also a great way for me to get bone broth into my kiddos, who haven’t yet learned to like it.
A couple of tips:
- Sometimes I will roast a whole chicken and use the meat for this soup. Other times, if I’m short on energy or time, I’ll simply buy a non-GMO, gluten-free, organic rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods and use the shredded meat instead.
- Use a bag of frozen kale (or spinach works, too) instead of the fresh to save even more time.
- Homemade bone broth is ideal, but don’t underestimate the value of store-bought bone broth if you’re in a pinch. Most natural grocery stores — and some regular grocery stores — now carry cartons of bone broth (look in the canned soup aisle or freezer section).
Lemon-Kale Chicken Soup (AIP)
- 1 yellow onion
- 1/2 cup + 1 TBS olive oil
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- 6 cups of bone broth
- 2 lemons
- 1 bunch of kale
- salt to taste
- 1 whole, roasted chicken
- gluten-free pasta or rice, optional for non-AIP servings
- Dice onion and saute with 1 TBS olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat until translucent.
- Add cooked onions, 1/2 cup olive oil and the can of coconut milk to a blender. Blend on high until smooth.
- Transfer mixture to a pot on the stove (med-high heat).
- Into the same pot, add 6 cups of bone broth, the juice of 2 lemons and salt to taste.
- Wash, de-stem and shred kale into small pieces. I usually do this by hand. Add to the pot.
- Shred the chicken and add to the pot.
- Allow to simmer for 30 minutes before serving.
I hope you have a happy, peaceful start to your December. If you’re moving into it slowly, know that you’re not alone and consider that perhaps this month is meant to be a time of reflection and remembrance of what’s most important. Even when our schedules are packed with festivities and to-do lists are nagging to be knocked out, we can still pause to take a breath and reset. Do something thoughtful for yourself. Make a pot of this soup. Make it for someone else. I promise it will be good!