Wintery Chicken Soup

3 1/4 quarts chicken stock (I used wine for the last half cup or so)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp Pickapeppa sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil or preferably, 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash (about half a squash)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp canola oil
2 large onions, diced
3 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped (peeled & seeded optional)
1/2 pound greens such as turnip, spinach, romaine, collard, or cabbage, washed very well, tough stems or cores removed, leaves sliced into thin ribbons
1 can (15 ounces) chick-peas with liquid (I had none so used pinto beans instead, no matter)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp Garlic Oil (or mince a clove of garlic & 1 tbsp olive oil)
1 1/4 to 2 cups boned and skinned cooked chicken
4 to 6 ounces (dry weight) bowtie noodles or ziti, cooked
Grated parmesan cheese, to pass at the table


In a heavy soup pot, bring the chicken stock to a boil. Turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer. Whisk in the tomato paste, Pickapeppa sauce, and dried herbs including dried basil, if using. Drop the butternut squash pieces into the simmering stock. Cover and let cook until the squash starts to soften, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a 8- to 9-inch skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until transluscent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes and toss in the hot fat for another 3 minutes or so. Scrape the tomatoes and onions from the skillet into the stock mixture. Deglaze the pan with a bit of the stock mixture, and add the pan contents to the soup pot, along with the shredded greens and chick-peas. Continue to simmer the soup, covered.

Add the salt and pepper, the optional garlic oil, and the chopped basil to the soup. Keep seasoning until it's there.

Stir in the chicken and get the soup good and hot. Place a handful of the cooked pasta in each serving bowl, and ladle the steaming soup over it. Serve hot, immediately. Pass the Parmesan cheese at the table.

-Crescent Dragonwagon, Dairy Hollow House Soup & Bread