What an easy pulled pork soup recipe. Don’t mistake easy for boring though! This pulled pork soup is a one pot wonder packed full of veggies and healthy homemade chicken stock. The pulled pork and torn kale give this soup a hearty, rustic feel that is extremely welcoming too!
This pulled pork soup recipe is: Gluten Free, Paleo and deliciously healthy for you.
Super Awesome Pulled Pork Soup
I’ve been thinking about this soup for a couple weeks now. I knew that I wanted to make a pulled pork soup, but wasn’t sure if chicken stock would work or if a pork stock would really kick it into high gear. Then I was thinking about the veggies and how it would all come together. It was a lot of thinking about a soup, but well worth it. You’re going to love the hearty, rustic nature of this pulled pork soup.
Sweating vegetables for soup
Ok. Sweating vegetables for soup is an important step to building flavor. What we are trying to do is give the aromatics (the veggies) a head start in the cooking process. We are going to sweat the veggies in a little bit of olive oil and a pinch of salt. The salt will help draw the moisture out of the cut vegetables and release it in the form of steam. As the moisture continues to evaporate, the veggies start to break down just a bit in the pan, concentrating their flavors.
One other reason to sweat the veggies, particularly for this pulled pork soup, is to allow the harder veggies (think carrots in particular) a chance to soften up a bit. Sure, we could increase the cook time once the soup is made to soften up the vegetables, but the soup will turn to mush. The pulled pork will disintegrate and the zucchini will fall apart before the carrots are cooked. Yikes… seems like the soup apocalypse!
Making Chicken Stock vs. Buying Chicken Stock
Years ago, I put up a post on a different blog (now long gone) comparing the absolute best boxed beef stock you can buy against homemade beef stock. The pictures were worth a million words alone. I poured both stocks into canning jars and let them sit for an hour. The results were astounding. The boxed stock had different layers of “stuff” in it that just looked kinda gross. The color of the stock was pale gray with the brown coloring settling to the bottom of the jar. On the other hand, the homemade stock was brown all the way through and just looked great. I wish I had the picture still… you’ll just have to take my word for it!
You can make a really simple chicken stock out of the bones from a rotisserie chicken you have for dinner. Or, pick up a couple necks and backs from the market. Stock doesn’t need to be made in huge quantities. Just a few veggies, some bones and a little time make all the difference in the world. The nutrients and rich flavor of homemade stock is just wonderful.
Now, I understand that making your own stock isn’t always an option. If you have to buy stock, buy stock with the least amount of ingredients on the label. Make sure you can understand what all the ingredients are as well! When I buy stock, if it is available, I try to purchase the organic kind. Most important: purchase stock with NO SALT! You want to be able to control the amount of salt you add into your soup. The people who manufactured the boxed stock don’t know how much salt you like!
QUICK COOKING TIP: We are going to make everything in one pot. This reduces the amount of cleanup and makes the pulled pork soup a really easy recipe to make again and again. The most important tip is adding in the vegetables in the order shown in the recipe below. Oh yeah… a quick note about straining the tomatoes. Canned tomatoes pack a lot of flavor. The juice in particular is very strong. I wanted tomatoes in the soup, but not have a tomato tasting soup. I just strained the tomatoes over a juice glass and drank it down. So tasty! You don’t have to do that, but straining the tomatoes helps balance the flavor of the soup.
Let’s get moving on this pulled pork soup recipe… I want it in my belly!
Healthy Pulled Pork Soup
- 8 Cups Chicken Stock homemade preferable
- 3 TBSP Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Carrots Diced
- 2 Cups Onions Diced
- 2 Cups Celery Diced
- 1 Cup Zucchini diced
- 1 14.5 OZ Can Diced Tomatoes strained
- 4 Cups Cooked Pulled Pork
- 2 Cups Kale torn leaves with no stems, loosely packed
- 1 TSP Kosher Salt
- 1 Pinch Fresh Cracked Pepper
- In a heavy bottom soup pot, add in the olive oil. Heat at medium-high until the oil starts to shimmer. Add in the carrots, celery and onion. Add in a pinch of salt. Stir and sweat the mirepoix for 6 minutes.
- Add in the zucchini and continue to cook for another 4-5 minutes. Add in the strained tomatoes, pulled pork and chicken stock. Increase the heat to high.
- Bring the soup to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Add in the kale and stir to submerge. Add in the salt and pepper.
- Taste. Adjust seasonings and taste again.
- Enjoy hot and happy eating!
Final thoughts on the Hearty Pulled Pork Soup Recipe:
The recipe makes a lot of soup. Twelve cups is more than some people may want to have on hand. I wanted to make enough to freeze off at least 4 cups to enjoy on another day! The funny thing is that this soup just seemed to evaporate after lunch today. Everyone loved it.
Want to make some pulled pork but don’t have six hours to get it done? Check out my recipe for delicious pressure cooker pulled pork! Ready in under 2 hours. Tender, juicy and flavorful!
If you don’t have pulled pork on hand, you can substitute some of my easy shredded chicken. The shredded chicken is ready in much less time than it takes to make slow cooked pulled pork. Thinking that you want a more traditional soup? Take a look at my chicken zoodle soup… yep, this soup is packed with veggies and served over zucchini noodles. Oh man, is it good.