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Paleo soup a pleasant surprise
life deh marys column pic
Southern Italian chicken soup - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

A few weeks ago, I sent out a request to all of you to send me your best soup recipes. After going through the first real cold snap, I realized that my soup recipe collection was woefully lacking on soups acceptable on the Paleo diet. Most of the soups I make are loaded with noodles, dumplings or beans, which I must confess, I thoroughly enjoy.
Fortunately, many of you came through for me and provided me with recipes or ideas on how to adapt my own recipes.  Today I wanted to share one of my favorites so far. It came from Mel Eesa Stueder and is for Southern Italian Chicken Soup. Now the recipe does call for fresh okra, and since I don’t particularly care for okra, I omitted it without much guilt since it is technically a fruit, and you know how well fruit and I get along. Now breaded and fried, I will eat a little of it, but even when we lived in the south I could never develop the taste.
Now, if you, like me, don’t particularly care for okra, you can substitute some fresh julienned zucchini, but once again, it’s a fruit, to which I can take it or leave it … usually I leave it.
If you prefer your soup a little heartier, add some pasta, maybe bowties or tortellini. I think it would also be great if you added in a can of drained and rinsed white or navy beans. One of my favorite things about soup is how versatile it is. Add what you like, take out what you don’t.
I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did!

Mary Hoisington

• 1 large finely diced onion
• 1 thinly sliced celery rib
• 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
• 1 clove minced garlic
• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• 6 cups chicken broth
• 1 15.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
• 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
• ¼ tsp. dried crushed red pepper
• 4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
• ½ tsp. salt
• ½ tsp. black pepper
• 2 cups sliced fresh okra

Sauté the onion, celery, carrots and garlic in 2 tablespoons oil for 3-5 minutes. Stir in broth and add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper and okra. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. In the mean time, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and cook in remaining tablespoon of oil. Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, cut into pieces and add to soup. Serve immediately.