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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, as in the similar and related recipes links. When I first moved to North Carolina, I could not find dandelion at the markets. Now, with the availability of hothouse produce, I can get them any time. However, they are not quite as flavorful as what was grown in the fields in PA, but still good. This soup was my first attempt at cooking the greens, and they are wonderful. Actually, the recipe was my mother's. The first time she made the soup, she asked if I wanted to add anything to the recipe and, since we had some dandelion greens in the refrigerator, I suggested we try them. 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 and chop or shred as desired. Meanwhile, skim the fat off the broth and taste for seasoning. When the chicken is ready, bring the broth back to a boil; add the beans, corn and the 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 cook just until hot.