On a Roll with Escarole

Now that it’s finally starting to cool down in Atlanta, I’ve found myself craving soup at all times. I’ll basically choke down anything the cafeteria at work dishes out. Today, I even ate “New England clam chowder.” In Georgia. (Needless to say, it was subpar.)

The Hubs and I received a beautiful Le Creuset French oven as a wedding gift this year, and I can’t wait to try out new stews, roasts, and … uh … braised things? (What on Earth does one make in a French oven?!) But until I figure out how to use that heavy-ass thing, I’ve got a super-easy go-to recipe that creates thick, filling, delicious soup in just half an hour.

I’ve made a couple tweaks to the recipe from my cookbook because I like my soups extra-hearty, but you can find the original, printable version on Food & Wine’s website.

Escarole Soup with Chicken and Rice
From Food & Wine Quick from Scratch Italian (Our very favorite cookbook, by far!)

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup rice, preferably arborio
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 pound escarole (1 small head), leaves washed and cut into 1/2-inch ribbons
  • 1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4 in all), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan

Step 1: Chop your carrots, celery and onion. Mince your garlic, unless you’re using the pre-minced stuff in a jar like I do. (Whatever – I’m a busy, working woman, and sometimes, I take shortcuts! It tastes just as good!)

Set the garlic aside for now. You’ll be sauteing the first three ingredients together.

Step 2: In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the carrot, onion and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have started to soften – about 5 minutes.

Step 3: Stir the garlic in with the rest of the vegetables, and cook another 2 minutes or so.

Step 4: Add the broth, rice and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. While your broth, rice and vegetables are simmering, cut up your escarole and your chicken. (That is, unless you’re an over-achiever and you prepped everything before you started. Suck-up.)

Step 5: Add the escarole to the pot and continue simmering until the escarole is almost tender – about 5 minutes.

Step 6: Add the chicken and pepper. Simmer for just 1 minute. The chicken should be done. Yes, really! Eat a piece!

Step 7: Remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the parsley and Parmesan.

Ta-da! You’re done. Serve with really buttery garlic bread and some extra grated Parmesan in case your guests/family are cheese-loving piggies like my husband. (Just kidding, honey. Not really, though.)

Note: To avoid situations like this, avoid putting the peeled skin from your onion down the garbage disposal.

I’ve heard it’s not polite to make your house guests (my mom’s boyfriend, in this case) take your pipes apart.

Like my slippers?

What are your favorite soup recipes? Care to share them with One-Recipe-Wonder over here? Extra points if they can be made in a French oven!


  • I don’t have a French oven, but I cook almost everything in my Crock Pot! I think the concepts are similar enough that you can adapt the recipes easily. My favorite site is crockpot365.blogspot.com – especially her baked potato soup!

    • Ooh, I’ll have to check that out! Thanks!

  • Looks like a tasty bowl of soup! I need to break out our crock pot and try some one pot meals.

    • I get so happy when it’s crock pot season!

  • John Meyer

    Franny makes a wonderful chicken soup, but I have to admit yours sounds good. I can’t wait to bust Rob’s stones! LOL

    • Nothing to bust them about — Rob was the hero in this situation! If he wasn’t there, we’d probably be washing our dishes in the shower right now.

  • Sounds good, I love escarole! I ruined my mom’s dishwasher awhiel back with onion peels, definitely learned my lesson…but you aren’t alone!

    • Oh, no! I didn’t know onion peels could hurt a dishwasher! Geez, the things you learn …

  • Might be a dumb question, but is a French oven different from a Dutch oven??

    • Nope. 🙂 I think Le Creuset just calls theirs “French” because they’re a French company.

  • Amy

    A few days late, but I had to share my favorite healthy version of Broccoli and Cheddar soup with you. It’s so good; I could eat it every day for lunch. Here’s the recipe:

    I usually use a *little* extra cheese to make it extra delicious, substitute more chicken broth for water, and use my amazing immersion blender to avoid the mess of the food processor.

    • Oh, YUM! Thanks, Amy! i’ve been considering getting an immersion blender — do you use it a lot?

      • Amy

        Yes, it’s so handy. I use it the most in winter because I like to make soups or steam winter vegetables like butternut squash or sweet potatoes and then use the blender to puree them. And it’s so much easier to clean than the 4-5 pieces you have to clean after using the food processor.

  • Oh my gosh what awesome nailpolish… please tell me what it is! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • Thanks, Erin! The dark color is Sephora by OPI in “Metro Chic” (one of my favorites), and the gold glitter is Sally Hansen XTreme Wear in “Set the Stage.”