Chunky Chicken and mushroom soup

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup…

chicken soupWe are working, I hope, through the last of the days on end rain storms where even the worms drown in unforgiving driveway puddles…

IMG_7389 and unplanned driveway streams…

IMG_7390Goats are hanging near the doorway..

IMG_7398As well as the dynamic duo…

IMG_7397

We tried basic ditching to get a little immediate relief. They have a little bridge to cross.

IMG_7396So for days like this, chicken soup is still in order. But I wanted a soup with big chunky vegetables, mushrooms and meat. I started by cooking the chicken whole (and frozen) on a low simmer for about an hour. Next I pulled out the crock pot. I pulled the cooked chicken and strain the bits. Once cooled, I  pulled the meat off and put it in the fridge till day 2. Here comes the crock pot.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.comBones go in along with a couple carrots, celery tops, onion (or scallions if like me that’s all you have in the fridge), @ 4 bay leaves,  a wedge of lemon, peppercorns, and a couple cloves of garlic. Potato bits and mushroom stems are also a nice addition. I use all the liquid from cooking chicken and top off to about 10-12 cups liquid. It will sit on low for about 24 hours and fill your house with a savory, homey scent. It’s gold baby.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-2No dicing or cubing here. I want to know if it is a slice of carrot or piece of celery in my mouth. 1 large onion, 4-5 carrots, 4 stalks of celery.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-3Same goes for the mushrooms- 6-8 larger brown caps (small portobellos) and 8-10 larger shiitakes. Don’t forget how much they shrink.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-5And if you want to give your soup a little more flavor, I strongly encourage sautéing your veggies in olive oil first and seasoning them on their own.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-6And then add the liquid gold to the big pot of veggies and lift up the “suc”- the yummy brown bits on the bottom  (that you hopefully didn’t burn black:) with a spatula or spoon.

I have to admit after nibbling on the chicken for a day, I bought another split breast that I gently simmered in the 24 hour stock for only 30 minutes. So I essentially had 3 big breasts… keep it down folks.

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-7About 4 cups largely shredded chicken in the end- mostly white meat. And of course these pieces still fit in your mouth. I don’t want to have to cut my soup into smaller pieces for god’s sake. Not that big!… Throw the meat in the pot.

And lastly, I added about ½ cup chopped parsley and seasoned the soup with salt, pepper and lemon. I wanted a simple, clean flavor and skipped any other herbs (rosemary, marjoram and thyme would be on another batch)

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-4

We are all ready for a break of sunshine.

IMG_7392And dry soils…

IMG_7393But until then how about another bowl of chunky chicken and mushroom soup!

RECAP: Portions – About 8-10. One dinner and lunch for 2. Then dinner for 4 at the neighbors…. and still a little left for the freezer.

  • Simmer one  3-4# chicken (skin on for me) in water till cooked- about 1 hour. Fill water to about ½  up way around chicken.
  • Pull chicken and let cool. Strain liquid and place in crockpot. Add enough water to make approx 10-12 cups liquid.
  • Remove meat from the bones and place all bones in the crockpot.  Put meat in the fridge till day 2.
  • Add to crockpot- 2 medium carrots, 2 celery middle stalks w/ leaves, ½ onion, peppercorns (8-12 if you must count), 4 bay leaves (less if you want-  won’t make or break your stock), couple cloves of garlic. Anything else you feel moved to add to create flavor- mushroom and potato bits, parsley stems.
  • Cook on low for up to 24 hours for a dark, rich, healthy chicken stock. Pull a little cup out and add a pinch of salt to just enjoy on its own. Strain liquid. (Cook up another breast for more meat if you ate a bunch waiting for your stock! and for a heartier soup)
  • Cut up 3-4 carrots, 4 stalks of celery, 1 onion
  • Slice 6-8 large cap mushrooms, 8-10 large shiitake mushrooms
  • Sauté veggies in your big soup pot with a little olive oil and season to taste. Add 24 hour stock. 
  • Take your chicken meat and pull apart/shred into larger but mouth fitting pieces. Add to soup pot.
  • Chop ½ cup parsley and add to soup pot.
  • Season to taste with salt, white pepper and lemon 

Chunky chicken and mushroom soup@ wendyellenthomas.com-8Cheers,

WT

 

 

Cuban Ceviche

You know the feeling when you haven’t talked to an old friend or relative for ages? Maybe even one you are pretty close to and that you really like and care about? And you keep waiting for that perfect afternoon when you are carefree and ready to cozy up in your favorite chair or kick back on the couch and just dive into a conversation for hours with your 100% undivided attention? But then days go by and months and you have fleeting glimpses of perfect moments that slip through your fingers.  And you’re like hell- just pick up the damn phone and call- RIGHT NOW.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

And really whether it’s been months or over a year- you can just start right where you left off with this person- some smiles, some laughs, maybe a little sorrow- but you are just fully present. Can you see my point here?  I don’t have to spell it out in anymore detail right? I’m picking up the damn phone and don’t have anything glorious to share here or really even the time to share it if it were. But we just got back from Florida and we had some killer ceviche in Miami and I was like BAM- get some pics of this stuff and let people know you haven’t let go of this blog thing!

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

The last 8 months were very full and this sharing space made itself comfortable on a back burner with no flame- We had a wonderful year at the store and at the end of it I decided to take another break from retail. I’m on about a 3-4 year cycle. I’m rolling one thing out as I simultaneously roll something in. My latest venture is Real Estate. It’s a far cry from creative but I like people, I like property and I like selling. And a slow 2015 Winter gave me ample time to study and get my license. And being on this island for over 20 years doesn’t hurt in that job.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

And then there’s those silly goats. They are keeping us plenty busy- especially since we never found new homes for our 2 kids, Jane and Rocky. We are still open to seeing them relocate but only for pets and milk- not the freezer thank you very much. ALTHOUGH having said that- we have our 3 does knocked up and I’m already mentally preparing myself for the fact these offspring may not reside here long term. We just don’t have the capacity. Ok- I may keep our Lagerian kids from Dinah- but they (LaMancha/Nigerian cross) will be small and hardly count.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

We also built a studio for O man (my husband for those of you who forgot because it’s been EIGHT MONTHS of not hearing a peep from me). And did I mention the real estate thing- last year I was basically working 2 jobs and it was tricky. Then there’s the garden and yada yada yada… I still cook practically everyday from scratch. That’s just a given.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

We spent only a week off the farm. And we got that time because we were so fortunate to have folks move into our cabin who love to farm sit. A little shout out to Coffelt Farm because that’s where one of them works:) We visited family near Vero Beach and we hiked down to Miami for just one night to visit our dear friends Teri and Jochen who moved there from Hamburg. One laughter filled, food filled evening spent with them on Ocean Drive at Lario’s on the Beach followed by chatting as we walked the boardwalk and ended with a stroll down Lincoln Road Mall. Loveliness.

Here’s a shot of the fresh snapper we had that night.Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com-5-2

Avocado salad

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com-4-2

And the ceviche and plantain chips that have been making me want to eat ceviche non-stop!

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com-3-2

Ceviche and steak might be the two things I’d eat all day everyday. A Cuban ceviche is often shrimp or scallops but it got a northwest spin because I have a fair amount of halibut in the freezer. Of course I’d recommend fresh but we do what we have to. I also saw a little note here….. that Cuban ceviche will have a dash of allspice. I didn’t see much other differentiation (except um for fish they tend to use scallops and shrimp). Sometimes a little tomato. But they are God awful right now in the Pacific Northwest so I skipped that. This link gave a little breakdown of ceviches and allspice seemed to be the little somethin’ somethin’ here. I pulverized whole allspice berries due to lack of ground allspice- but the whole berries actually proved more aromatic. So maybe this post should just say Ceviche with nutmeg…

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

What I am missing from my very large repertoire of  dish/glass ware and general accessories is martini glasses- which is a lovely way to feature ceviche. Now of course I might have to pick up a few just for my raw fish cravings. And my mom likes a very dirty martini- so there you have it. I should get some martini glasses.

Cuban Ceviche@ wendyellenthomas.com

~”Cuban” ceviche recipe~  now anybody who is actually from Cuba who might want to set me straight – I’m all ears!

  • 1# fish – I’m fairly flexible here. Halibut, ling cod, snapper of course,scallops, parboiled shrimp. But I like it to be a white fish
  • 1 sweet red pepper – or go for rainbow with yellow and orange if  available- I like that too
  • ½ bunch of cilantro- approx. ½-¾ cup
  • ½ cup red onion
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper (seeds removed)
  • 1 cup citrus juice- 3 limes, 1-2 lemons, 1 orange
  • zest from 1 organic lime
  • ½ tsp salt
  • good pinch of ground nutmeg (then taste it and see if you want more!)
  • garnish with green onion

When eating it for a light meal I didn’t mind serving it up on shredded romaine tossed with olive oil and lemon. You’ll find a little jalapeño,red pepper, red onion, lime, lemon and orange. And a little side of mango and avocado.

I even tried frying up some plantains. They weren’t deep fried so not as crispy as what we ate in Florida but yummy none the less.

So having prepped you in the first paragraph you’ll see this post come to an end- it’s not going to be a novel and I’d like to think you’ll hear from me again sooner than later.

Cheers,

WT

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