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

 

 

roasted beet soup

Spring is here and I’ve got little baby beet seedlings in the greenhouse but I can’t wait 65 days for them to make beets.

Roasted beet soup-7So until then I’m getting organic beets at the store. They are a vegetable, in my opinion, that spans all seasons. We ate this roasted beet soup hot and cold and both were delicious. So if you’re still freezing your tush off- heat it up. If you are in CA and it’s gone straight from winter to summer- keep it cool.

PRINT RECIPE: {ROASTED BEET SOUP}

  • 1½ lbs roasted, trimmed beets (about 4-6 medium-lg beets)
  • 2 ½ qts chicken stock- or veggie if you prefer
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic
  • 1 T honey
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 2-3 T sour cream or crème fraîche

It is super simple. The beets are roasted with skin on. I like to cook a couple extra while I’m at it. I’ll cube them and have them to add to salads during the week.

Roasted beets

I use my current everyday organic olive oil Olivar de la Luna

Olivar de la Luna olive oilAnd I’m working through our garlic harvested last July. It’s starting to recognize that spring is here and beginning to germinate but it’s still very usable. I do “degerm” it by removing the green germ you see there. It just starts shooting up the middle where if in the ground it would continue to push through the soil. I’ve heard if you remove the germ it makes you less “gassy” but don’t hold me accountable to that one! And remember you don’t have to even peel for this recipe:)

olive oil and garlic-2After roasting I’ll let the beets cool and then skin them.

Roasted beet soup-2The garlic is actually just thrown in whole and I squeezed a little of the soft garlic into the puree but your oil and beets are strongly garlic scented.

Everything is pureed into a lovely smooth soup- it’s not rocket science here.

Roasted beet soup-6

I love garnishing with a little creme fraiche or sour cream using a little piece of plastic with a whole at the tip. Don’t worry about a pastry bag- You make little dots like this on your soup

Roasted beet soup-4Then swipe through them with a toothpick for a sweet little design

Roasted beet soup-5And then after about 10 seconds of everyone going awwww that’s so sweet. They dig their spoons…But if you noticed this one had swirls… no hearts.

Roasted beet soup-8And I’ll leave you with a fun shot Ollie snapped while following up the rear on our woods walk with the gang…cheers xx

goat walk

white bean, kale and sausage soup

This is just a little something to ground you between the inevitable highs and lows of the holidays. Kale, white bean and sweet italian sausage from Skagit River Ranch It’s a moment to go to something simple, familiar – we aren’t re-inventing the wheel here. Maybe use a little of that soup stock from the turkey bones. I made about 6 quarts from two turkeys. It’s important to keep eating healthy for a majority of the time through this season. And honestly, we enjoy the holidays more if we don’t feel like we’ve completely fallen off the cliff with eating habits.

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-5The kale is holding out but has had a couple good hits from freeze. I actually think I could plant more next year. Never enough kale right?

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-3I uncased three links of the sausage and saved one to slice. Ground sausage unlinked is a little more convenient if you have a quality source. One link I sliced in to have some chunks for garnishing but that’s optional

http://www.skagitriverranch.com

Pulled my last few leeks from the garden as well and sautéd two of them with 1 medium yellow onion along with the 3 links of the sausage with casings removed. From here I added a little carrot and about 1 large bunch of kale cut in large strips and the chicken stock.

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-2My go to white beans are Great Northern Beans from Eden Foods

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-4Put it all together… and garnish with a little grated parmesan. Warming, hearty but not too… time for a little holiday reflection and shopping:)

Side note: This fun laundered linen is from Couleur Nature and can be found at Chez Chloe online.

White bean kale sausage soup @wendyellenthomas.com-7And a couple real life shots of our Thanksgiving. We moved our living room furniture into the dining room and brought the table out to the living room and added another big table and 2 picnic tables. Tablecloths, candles, flowers and a little adornment made for some beauty and warmth. We sat down and gave thanks with so many great friends.

Thanksgiving dinner 2014

Thanksgiving dinner 2014-2

cheers… wendy

 

Fall recipes… revisited.

pumpkinbreadpuddingscript copy

This looks familiar your saying to yourself. Well at least those who have been hanging around these parts for the past year. And well, if you haven’t been, nor have you had the inclination to dig into the past, I’ll make it easy for you.  Your starter, main and dessert. We’ll start with dessert first.

Pumpkin Bread pudding with Spicy Apple Caramel sauce

This is also my little hello and no, I haven’t fallen off the edge of the blog sphere. My bricks and mortar shop, Chez Chloe (check out the new website), had a hopping summer and I’ve been busy busy preparing for the holidays. My dear husband and number one eater is off to Germany for one last round of teaching and then turning in his papers to become a full time US of A resident on the one and only Orcas Island in the Evergreen State! Three cheers!!! My cooking and photos tend to wain when he is away.

Here is a starter that is a little out of the ordinary. Try this with your next fall meal. It was a hit.

Pumpkin and Feta Salad with Maple Vinaigrette

pumpkinandfetasalad

I see I was having some fun with fonts last fall:)

Here is a wonderful stew to serve between your starter and dessert.  Inspired by a post from my friend at Karista’s Kitchen, Mulligatawny is an anglo-Indian recipe often served with chicken but I used beef and will make it again soon with lamb.

This salad, stew and dessert made the perfect fall meal.

Mulligatawny

mulligatawney soup

 

Hope all is right in your world and the colorful leaves fall gently around you.

Enjoy.

Tschüß xx

What happens when the freezer door is left ajar? #1

Things melt. Some not in a nice way. Like berries. The fish on the other hand was just thawed and still very usable. But we’ve had a lot of  scallops, halibut cheeks and salmon this week. Now I’m not complaining exactly, except I wouldn’t indulge in this much good product in just one week.

Scallop Chowder-9

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Roasted Hakkaido (pumpkin) and feta salad w/ Maple vinaigrette

pumpkin and feta salad

It’s a rainy Monday that is doing a rather fine job pretending to be Sunday. There is no school today, no need to go to town, therefore no need to dress. I’ve enjoyed reading what feels like 101 blogs. I’m eating a satisfying ham sandwich slathered with mayo and mustard on white bread. It’s like giving into a craving…on all accounts. Really it’s the first day since getting back a week ago to Orcas Island, that I’ve not had a full day agenda. We all need these days. It almost feels like the spanse of time between Christmas and New Year’s. Which outside of the years being responsible for  a cafe and/or retail store is like living a few days in a warm cozy cocoon, visiting with friends and family, enjoying hot drinks, reading books and being together. Now that I think of it, this is what I look forward to most at Christmas.

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Chicken Soup with Glass Noodles

Chicken Soup with Glass Noodles

We enjoyed another light meal this week of chicken soup with glass noodles. We’ve had a few more smoothies, which I must mention because I forgot to put a couple photos on the last post. The smoothie and a very moving one of a glass of water with a lemon slice- don’t fret, I’ll add it too.  After pushing ‘publish’ last time, I had that sneaky little feeling I’d rushed it. I’m sure others have lingered in that moment. I re-read the post and thought, no  it’s looks complete… until this morning during our weight class at the gym. The one I actually like but still can’t wait to finish… the one that I’ve NOT done in TOO long so I’m having to pause after every sentence I type to let my arms rest…the one I tend to day dream through. This was when two photos flashed before my eyes. I was like dammit janet, you forgot those two photos yesterday. How these thoughts, memories float to the surface of the conscious, is beyond me. I have recently read some very interesting articles concerning some of the intricacies of how the brain works. Here are a couple from the NYTimes-

The Brain On Love and The Brain On Fiction

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It is so fall in Hamburg

It is so fall in Hamburg

I love the fall.  The weather here has been beautiful. Cool and windy and not a lot of rain. The colors are incredible! Here are a couple things coming out of the kitchen right now. I accidentally put the oven on broil  instead of bake! Grrrr……But the bread flipped over looked and tasted great.

Baked kurbis (pumpkin) and banana bread

Here’s the inspiration for the pumpkin soup (lactose free)

Pumpkin soup with coconut milk

  • one small baked pumpkin (salt,pepper & a little olive oil)
  • carmelized onions
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • approx 2 cups chicken stock/broth
  • green thai curry
  • fish sauce
  • fresh lime
  • roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds with a dash of tamari.

Just go for it and make it taste good to you!

As for the banana bread. The recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. But no raisins. Bleck. Read below for recipe.  I like this banana bread even more the next day. It’s so moist, but I still love to slather it with butter or cream cheese. Hmmm…. how many weight watcher points would that be?

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