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Chicken and Dandelion Soup

Serves 6 to 8

Dandelion greens are a favorite from my past. The Pennsylvania Dutch use them most often as salad greens with hot bacon dressing, which is in the similar and related recipes. When I first moved to North Carolina, I could not find dandelion except the weed that was growing in my yard. However, with the increasing availability of hothouse produce, I see them now and then at my local grocery store. As expected, hothouse varieties are not as flavorful as what is cultivated in the fields in PA, nor is the texture the same, so I rarely use them for the salad. This soup was the first time I cooked dandelion and, like most greens, it is very good. The recipe was my mother's. The first time she made it, she asked if I wanted to add anything and I suggested we include dandelion greens since we had some in the refrigerator. This soup is a healthy and delicious one pot meal, needing just some crusty bread on the side.


Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, seasoned with salt and pepper, and brown on all sides. Add the broth, celery, carrots, onion, garlic and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until chicken is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot. Let set until cool enough to handle, then take the meat off the bones, chop or shred as desired and set aside.

Skim the fat off the broth and taste for seasoning. Bring the broth back to a boil; add the beans, corn and dandelion greens. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until greens are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the pasta and cook another 10 minutes or until pasta is tender. Add the cooked chicken and simmer until hot.