Make this rich, creamy soup in the crockpot with chicken, fresh spinach, and mushrooms. Top with Parmesan croutons for extra flavor.
After an unseasonably warm Christmas, it finally feels like Winter here in East Tennessee. Not that I enjoy the cold weather all that much, but I do enjoy making soup for these chilly days. We had overnight guests on Saturday (our daughter and friends were in town for the Chris Stapleton concert), so I made a big Crockpot of Creamy Chicken Florentine Soup to warm them up before they hit the road Sunday afternoon. The chicken is stewed in broth until it is tender and easy to shred, then the broth is thickened with a rich, buttery roux. I tossed in mushrooms and fresh spinach leaves at the end of cooking and seasoned it all with fresh cracked pepper – delicious!
Since I didn’t have a fresh loaf of crusty bread to serve with this hearty soup, I decided to make homemade Parmesan croutons out of a leftover French loaf that i had in the freezer. Making homemade croutons is really very easy and is a great use for any leftover bread. Simply slice the bread into large chunks and drizzle with your favorite olive oil and seasonings (I just eyeball it!). I like using extra virgin olive oil like Bellucci — 100% authentic Italian grown and produced and very flavorful — and add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and finely shredded Parmesan cheese.
Toast the bread in a 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring often, until golden brown and with a nice crunch. These croutons are great for soaking up all that yummy soup broth, but be careful that you don’t start nibbling on them before the soup is ready or you may not have any left for the soup!
With or without the croutons, this soup is very filling and tasty with big chunks of shredded chicken, fresh spinach, and tender mushrooms. You could even top each serving with some extra freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if you like.
Chicken Florentine Soup
- 2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
- 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
- Add chicken breasts, broth, chopped onion, pesto, salt, and Italian seasoning to slow cooker. Cook on low for six hours or on high for three hours.
- Remove chicken and shred using two forks. Return chicken and sliced mushrooms to the crock pot.
- Prepare a roux by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook just until it becomes a light golden brown. Add milk and stir until thick and creamy. Stir in the wine until smooth.
- Add the mixture to the slow cooker temperature and reduce the temperature to low. Add spinach and stir. Cook soup another 15 minutes, or until spinach is melted and heated through.