Just a Soup Away from Spring

Just a Soup Away from Spring

Beware the Ides of the First 70 Days of the Year

I have always found the weeks leading up to spring (for 2017, spring will have sprung on Monday, March 20th) to be slow and irritating. Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the weather vacillates between winter freezes and summer-like temperatures. This creates a challenge as a home health nurse, stretching my ability to effectively layer my clothing and as well as temper my patience for drivers who panic at just a dusting of snow on our Southwestern roads. My pre-spring stress levels are slightly lower than my winter stress levels, as if we do get a couple inches of snow it will probably be melted by noon, decreasing the likelihood of the dreaded shift call offs due to being “snowed in”.

A Shift in Appetite

Another challenge of these pre-spring weeks is that as I start to shed layers, I also realize that I am not a bear and my hibernation period should have never existed in the first place. Regret about all those comforting yet heavy winter meals begins to build and the compulsion to eat a bit lighter (aided by slightly warmer temperatures) forms. Due to my busy schedule, crock pot and one-pot meals are my go to during the week, so lighter, brighter soups helps spring feel like it is just around the corner.

Spring Chicken Soup Prep

A little prep goes a long way!

A Shift in Wellness

February also heralds the peak of cold and flu season, which is why soups are favored in my household around this time of year. I like to pack them with lots of greens, citrus, ginger, and other immune boosting ingredients, in the hopes that this will stave off any cooties trying to take a foothold, or at least keep people (and their germs) at arms length, even if it is due to the copious amounts of garlic I consume. Soup also helps to increase your daily fluid intake and our dry Santa Fe atmosphere requires all the hydration we can get.

So, after that lengthy explanation, here it is – my Lemon Ginger Chicken Soup with Swiss Chard – good for what ails you, or whatever may be trying to ail you.

A big pot of spring soup!

Soup for your Spring!

Lemon Ginger Chicken Soup with Swiss Chard


4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

4 large carrots, 2 chopped, 2 quartered

2 red onions, 1 chopped, 1 halved with skin still on

1 head of celery, 4 pieces chopped, the rest in 4 inch long segments

1 celery root, green tops separated, bottom peeled and cut into 1/4 inch length matchsticks

2 heads of garlic, 1 peeled, 1 whole

2 stalks lemongrass, tops separated and white bottoms finely diced

1 thumb sized piece of ginger, half peeled and left whole, the other half peeled and finely diced

1 bunch parsley, 1/4 chopped, the rest left whole

1/4 cup peppercorns

1 leftover chicken carcass

3 cups shredded cooked chicken (probably from the above chicken carcass)

3 cups thinly sliced swiss chard

2 cups white wine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Salt & pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400*
  • Place one head garlic on a square of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast in heated oven for one hour. Set aside as you will be using this in the final soup stages.
  • Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add quartered carrots, halved onion, and celery sections (along with their tasty leaves) and allow to brown.
  • Deglaze with white wine. Add celery root greens, peeled garlic, tough tops of lemongrass, piece of ginger, 3/4 bunch of parsley, peppercorns, and chicken carcass. Salt to comfort-level (I add one tablespoon). Cover with water and bring to a boil.
  • Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and allow it to develop its stocky goodness, for at least 4 hours. I usually start the stock in the morning, returning in the afternoon/evening to finish the soup  (which is at least 8 hours later).
  • Strain the stock with a fine sieve.


  • Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Lightly brown the following chopped vegetables: carrots, onion, and celery. Once browned, add roasted garlic, diced lemongrass and ginger, and celery root – deglaze with remaining cup of white wine (if needed [but of course it’s needed!]).
  • Add vegetable mixture to strained broth along with shredded chicken. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Add the parsley, swiss chard, lemon juice, pepper, and salt until greens are tender, about 3–5 minutes.
  • Ladle into bowls and savor your pre-spring soup!

Mix it Up!

This soup is great with peas, potatoes, cannellini beans, noodles (I prefer orzo), wild rice, and/or (but of course AND) bacon. Top it with all your favorite accoutrements – green onions, shredded parmesan cheese, more pepper, etc. It is a light soup that is versatile and great for leftover lunches and dinners. Enjoy!

Serve Yourself Some Spring Soup

A ladle-full of love

Home health nurse and wearer of many hats in sunny Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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