- Place chicken legs in a large saucepan of cold water.
- Add the garlic, salt, thyme, and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.
- Remove chicken legs from broth and let cool.
- Strain broth and set aside.
- In a large 6-L saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the celery, carrot, and onion, and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes.
- Season with salt and sprinkle with thyme and hot pepper, if using.
- Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.
- Pour in reserved chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add the potatoes and sliced cabbage and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, remove skin from chicken legs and separate meat into pieces. Set aside.
- Add the white beans, garlic, and chicken pieces.
- Mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.
- Serve piping hot topped with grated Parmesan, if using, season with freshly ground pepper, and accompany with bread.
To save time, use a pre-cut, fresh veggie mixture.
For the soup, replace the dried thyme with a spoonful of pesto when serving.
Use leftover cooked chicken in a salad or sandwich, and leftover white beans in a salad.