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Best Fall Soups: Hearty Georgia Chicken Soup With Okra, Turnips, and Stewed Tomatoes

Best Fall Soups: Hearty Georgia Chicken Soup With Okra, Turnips, and Stewed Tomatoes

The South. Biscuits, fried chicken, cane syrup, okra, and my mama :). Those are some of the things I think of when I think of Georgia-my home. This recipe combines two of my favorite vegetables (yes, I know “technically” tomatoes are a fruit…noted) into one lip smacking slap yo’ mama lil number that you’re sure to make over and over again. I always recommend using the mostest freshestest fruits and veggies you can find but in the case below..there was no good lookin’ okra available. The brand that I found frozen was in a clear bag and BEAUTIFUL so that’s what went in this masterpiece (that’s what my daddy said when he ate TWO big ol’ bowls). I also subbed in turnips (Southern with a capital S) for the potatoes found in your “normal” fall bowl o’ soup.

In this recipe I use fatback (literally from the fat of the back of the pig used for seasoning). Before you back arrow outta here, hear me out. Fat is good, in small amounts! It adds flavor, body, and that BUHHHZOW! that makes this dish make you wonder why you never experimented with fat back before (yes, it’s THAT good). In all honesty, it adds a depth of flavor unsurpassed by anything that you could throw in here. So, say NO! to turkey bacon today and get yourself some pig fat!

Hearty Georgia Chicken Soup With Okra, Turnips, and Stewed Tomatoes

5 cups Chicken Stock (member my last post for Homemade Chicken Stock? 🙂 )
4 chicken thighs
1 large sweet onion (about a cup) even better if you have a Vidalia still hangin’ around
1/4 cup fat back, diced very small
1/4 cup flour
1 can (15 ounce) stewed tomatoes
1 large turnip (about 1 cup)
3 Tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Creole seasoning (your favorite whether it’s store bought or homemade)
1 Tablespoon butter


Preheat oven to 425° and place thighs, skin side up on a baking sheet. Season chicken with a little olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper and sea salt. Roast chicken for 40 to 45 minutes until nicely browned and crispy (upper rack in oven). Remove from oven to cool.

If pulling your stock from the freezer go ahead and get it out of the freezer and into a large pot on medium heat. Leaving turnip unpeeled, dice into 1/2″ pieces and set aside. Dice up onion into 1/2″ dice and get the herbs chopped as well.  Lastly, dice your fatback (one wash cutting board, woooohooo!). After you’ve got everything chopped and diced shred your (now cooled) chicken and reserve the skin for garnish. I usually cut them into strips with kitchen shears.

In medium pan add tablespoon of butter and onions and cook on medium low heat the onions until they are cooked through. Add seasoning mix and stir about 1 minute (to get out the “rawness” of the seasoning blend). Remove onion from pan to sit with it’s sister, the turnip. Your stock should be hot now (if not, turn the heat up).

In same pan add fatback (on same medium low heat) and let fat render out and pork start to crisp up (takes about 5 minutes). Once it starts browning, add in the flour with a spatula and stir, stir, stir. It will resemble a paste. Continue to stir for a minute or so, you’re making a roux. With a ladle, slowly add in about a cup of stock from your pot and whisk away until smooth. You may need to add another ladle or so of liquid to smooth out your roux. Once it’s smooth, transfer this mixture to the entire pot of stock and stir to incorporate. Turn heat up and let soup come to a quick boil and then turn it down to a simmer.

Add the stewed tomatoes (if using whole tomatoes, gently crush with your hands before adding) and turnips and cook until turnips are fork tender (8 to 10 minutes). Add okra and shredded chicken and cook an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Taste soup and adjust seasoning to your liking. Stir in chopped parsley and bowl up. I like to serve this soup over jasmine rice. Right before serving, top with crisped chicken skins.


Helpful Hints:

You can always sub in a rotisserie chicken for this recipe as well as store bought stock (make sure to grab low/no sodium stock) which will enable you to have dinner ready in about 30 minutes.


What’s your favorite soup? Have you ever tried okra? Turnips? What are your thoughts on these veggies? Leave a comment below or feel free to ask me any questions:)

16 thoughts on “Best Fall Soups: Hearty Georgia Chicken Soup With Okra, Turnips, and Stewed Tomatoes”

  • OK…you may not believe this, but for whatever reason, earlier today, I was thinking about making chicken soup for somebody! Crazy!

    I’ll admit it…the thought of using back fat and chicken thighs in my chicken soup…well, definitely not something that I would normally consider. I use a combination of white and dark meat when I make chicken soup because I know that chicken breast can be a bit dry at times. Here’s another weird coincidence: I was at Trader Joe’s this afternoon, and actually picked up a package of chicken thighs and almost bought them!

    It seems the Universe has spoken Jennifer…time to make me some Hearty Georgia Chicken Soup!

    • I read your mind Veronica..I’m a chef..and a mind reader. lol j/k
      Your comment literally made me laugh out loud. Thank you for that after a long day at work:) You’d better get back to me if you do decide to make this. I’d like to know what you think! Now, get back in your car and go to Trader Joe’s…hahahaha.

  • That’s a great post on your chicken soup. I would always try new thing back in my kitchen This is going to be something I would love to try out this weekend. The way you have written the method of preparation is easy and simple to understand as well. Just wondering if this soup is spicy? I make extra spicy dishes usually, I just need them in my food.

    • Hey Bala! Good question. My family is the opposite with spice. My creole spice mix does contain cayenne and you’re always welcome to add a dash more of the cayenne alone to give a little heat. Or you could add some crushed red pepper flakes to set this baby ablaze! 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  • Oh my word that looks heavenly! I am definitely printing this off and making it! We eat a lot of chicken and I am always looking for ways to make a variety of foods. So glad I found your site. It really looks pretty simple with ingredients that I have on hand. I plan to look over some of your other recipes. Good ol’ southern food is always yummy. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Thanks for the reply! It really is a simple dish. Those are usually the best. The key is to make it all with love. 🙂

  • Hi jen,

    What a great post and great recipe! Love it. I can almost smell it all the way over here in Australia! haha! You put so much love into this hearty chicken soup. It looks delicious.

    We are coming into summer here but I love soup anytime so giving this to my partner as she is a great soup maker. Look forward to trying it.

    Cheers, Kev

  • This sounds unique and tasty! Does Okra work to thicken soups when cooked this way? I’ve had it prepared fried (not gooey) and in chinese restaurants (ultimate goo). Just curious how it works when added as part of a soup. Thanks for all the great warming food ideas, always helps to have some direction when you want to cook something from scratch but aren’t a chef!

    • Great question! The goo in this recipe was held at bay by the Stewed Tomatoes. If okra is cooked at high heat..aka. pan seared, grilled, or fried it is A-ok with having the no goo factor. Otherwise, it needs to be cooked with some sort of acid..aka..tomatoes. I love the question! Keep em coming! 🙂

  • Oh I love eating okra and turnips, i usually just steam those and eat it together with shrimp paste. I have tried these 3 vegetables in a tamarind -based soup . I love chicken noodle soup but i haven’t tried other recipes aside form the one that’s like the canned ones. thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Hi Regz! Ooooh, tamarind is sooo good for you! Having it in a soup is so soothing for the tummy, especially in a chicken soup. Thanks for the comment!

  • I recently got into making soup.
    I was never a fan but wanted to try new things.
    This is a great recipe and I am definitely going to try this tonight.
    Keep the recipes coming.

  • This was too funny to read! I LOVE turkey bacon and, of course, agree with most that it’s a “healthier” option. So ya kinda called me out!! lol I do love potatoes in soup, more as a filler I suppose – to the idea of using turnips had literally never crossed my mind. I love soups and stews (who doesn’t this time of year!?) and will be experimenting with this recipe in the upcoming weeks! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Thanks Courtney! lol. YOUR comment made ME laugh! I wish I could get down with turkey bacon. It’s just….
      not bacon?? haha. Hope you like the recipe and come back and visit anytime:))

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