The sky was overcast this morning, and fall is in the air. Time to make some soup!
My family loves soup, it is one of my most requested meals. I love how creative one can be with soup, and how many veggies you can squeeze into the pot. My families number one favorite soup is Chicken Soup, today, I have decided to try a new addition to our chicken soup- mushrooms! I love mushrooms, and could eat them everyday, most often we eat them sauteed in butter or olive oil and seasoned with Italian herbs, and sometimes a few red pepper flakes, I also love them in my lentil soup and beef soup!
Here's my recipe for Chicken Mushroom Soup.
Today I am making my soup in the crock pot, sometimes I make soup on the stove, but I love to make it in my crock pot, because the crock pot needs a little less watching, and it frees me up to do other chores, just make sure to start early though, as it takes quite a bit longer than cooking soup on the stove.
I start with whatever chicken pieces I have on hand, when I have bone in chicken cuts, I use that, and don't have to add any chicken stock, when I have only boneless skinless pieces, I add those along with chicken stock. Today I used 6 thighs, and I am making my own chicken broth.
I put the 6 chicken thighs, along with two medium onions, and about a teaspoon of Italian Herbs into the crock pot, and covered them completely with water, leaving about 2-3 inches of space in the crock pot for the veggies that I will add later.
I leave this to cook in the crock pot on high for 4-5 hours until the chicken is thoroughly cooked, and the water is a flavorful broth. If you are using boneless skinless pieces, you only need to cook it until the chicken is done before moving on to the next step of adding the veggies.
When chicken is completely cooked, and the broth is to your liking, use a skimmer to remove all of the chicken from the pot, be sure and check the soup thoroughly for any bones that may have become loose from the chicken, and remove them all. Let the chicken cool on a plate until it is cool enough to handle (while it is cooling you can start prepping some of your veggies, see below).
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from from the chicken, and cut it into bite sized pieces, then discard the bones and skin (my dogs love to have some of the chicken skin mixed with their dog food). Put the meat back into the crock pot.
If you are using boneless skinless chicken, you can skip this next step, and move straight on to adding your veggies.
Now for the veggies- I like to add an entire bunch of chopped celery, 3/4 of a bag of frozen crinkle cut carrots, or about 8 peeled and chopped carrots, for classic chicken soup I like to add one regular sized can of diced tomatoes and a bit more Italian herb blend with salt and pepper. For Chicken Mushroom soup I am adding 2 cups of frozen chopped broccoli and about 1 1/2 cups of cleaned and quartered white mushrooms, with sea salt, pepper, and a few more dashes of Italian herbs. Continue cooking until all of the veggies are cooked and tender.
I like to serve this soup over my husbands favorite soup pasta- Orzo, or a fresh pot of steamed white rice. I make the rice or pasta about 25 minutes before I am ready to serve dinner, then put a scoop of the pasta or rice in each bowl and ladle the soup over it, that way the rice or noodles don't get soggy, and you can control how much you want in your soup.
Here is a picture of the Orzo we use for soups. Very yummy soup pasta!!
Tonight I am serving the soup over rice. Every time I make Chicken Soup with rice I am reminded of the classic children's Story by Maurice Sendak - Chicken Soup with Rice, which can be found in my most favorite tiny book set of all time- The Nutshell Library (see the link below). I have loved this little set of books since I was a child, and when my children were in Kindergarten they memorized the entire Chicken Soup with Rice story with their class, the book is made up of a little rhyme about Chicken Soup with rice for every month. Tonight we are headed to Back to School night at the high school, but I think we might have to have a quick reading of Chicken Soup With Rice, before our meal, in honor of the new school year :)
I will leave you with an excerpt from Maurice Sendak's Chicken Soup With Rice
In September for a while
I will ride a crocodile
down the Chicken Soupy Nile.
Paddle Once, Paddle Twice
Paddle Chicken Soup with rice.
and on the last page...
I told you once
I told you twice
all seasons of the year are nice
for eating Chicken Soup with Rice!
P.S. - There is still time to enter the Back to Basics Giveaway that I am hosting until September 17, 2011.