Monday, November 14, 2011

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Stew

Good Monday Morning! Sara here :).Although we have quite warm temperatures (in the 70's and 80's in November?!) colder times are a comin'. In the summertime we eat a lot of salads but as soon as the leaves turn crisp my mind and stomach start thinking soup. This year, I'd like to try some new recipes that I might have passed over before.

Sometimes, being a stay-at-home-mom might seem a bit like the movie "Groundhog Day." Same schedule, same routine, week after week. I'd like to suggest that a mere change of attitude (and appetite!) can definitely bring a little spice, cheer, fun, tradition, or exploring into the "normal."  So, here's to new soups and recipes this fall and winter!
Today I'm introducing "Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Stew". This soup is delicious, filling, and great for lunch leftovers! As a rule, I generally make a new recipe following the exact directions provided the first time around, maybe making a change or two. Then, if it's a "let's have it again" meal I'll make more changes the next time around-making the recipe more mine.  You could easily make this soup without the mushrooms. I left out the white wine and used 1% milk for the liquid. 

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped celery, leaves and all
2 carrots, chopped
1 package mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 russet potatoes, diced
2 bay leaves
a pinch of dried rosemary, thyme and oregano

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup white wine, if desired

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk, half & half or cream


2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water if the soup needs further thickening

Shred or dice the cooked chicken and set aside.

Heat a soup pot and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the chopped onion, celery, carrots, mushrooms, garlic potatoes and spices. Saute over medium high heat until the vegetables are wilted.

Add the chicken broth and white wine, if desired. Bring to boil and simmer gently until the vegetables are soft.

In another small pan, melt the 2 tablespoons butter, add 2 tablespoons flour and whisk together until evenly combined. Simmer for a few minutes, lower the heat if necessary, being careful not to let the mixture turn brown. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly so lumps don't form. Mixture should be thick since you're going to add it to the stew. After mixture thickens and the consistency is even, add it to the stew and combine well.

Simmer for 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper, taste and adjust seasonings.

Add the 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water if the soup needs further thickening by bringing the pot to a gentle boil and adding the cornstarch mixture while stirring. Simmer gently for 5 more minutes.

Garnish with chopped parsley, chives or jalapeños.

     See ya Thursday for a mouth-watering dessert that's cute as it can be! :)-Sara

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