Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What's for dinner: Chicken mushroom soup

Hubby is out of town today L so I’m not cooking anything elaborate. I usually cook too much for two of us, and that’s way too much for just me. I seem to ascribe to the notion that if you’re going to work at it, you might as well make as much as you can.

Okay, off-topic. I’m sticking to the low-carb regimen so this soup is going to work for that., and it is not a bad thing to have several servings on hand for when cravings hit for nice soft fresh bread (or whatever your carb of choice may be).

I chopped half an onion and two stalks of celery and sautéed them in a soup pot with a little olive oil and a teaspoon of fresh thyme. Took one pound of mushrooms and chopped half of them; ran the other half through the fine julienne blade of a v-slicer. (The julienne will make me miss noodles less, giving a little of that mouthfeel at least. Of course you can just chop them all.) Added all the mushrooms to the pot long with a quart and a half of chicken stock (low sodium canned broth will work, too). Soaked a handful of assorted dried mushrooms, broken up small, in two cups of hot water, then added the ‘shrooms and the water to the pot, being sure not to pour in the grit at the bottom of the soaking liquid. At this point I stop to taste and season. Salt and pepper are good; I like to use ground dried green peppercorns instead of black, because they add a great flavor without being as harsh as black pepper can be.

This simmers for an hour or so, then I add two or three cups of chopped cooked chicken meat and turn off the heat. If you are using chicken thigh meat, you can put it in at the beginning of the simmer. Today I have breast meat so it goes in at the end. Cool the soup and refrigerate overnight, as this will infuse the chicken meat with mushroom flavor and let everything get well-acquainted. Reheat to serve. Of course you can serve it the same day! Or if you want to serve it immediately and you are using chicken breast, add the meat and simmer it for about ten minutes before serving. You don’t want to turn that chicken breast into erasers, now, do you?

A variation using raw chicken is to sauté raw chopped chicken with the vegetables and proceed with the recipe.

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