Thursday, October 25, 2012

31 Days of October: Day 25... A Mushroom in Every Pot

Another of the many, many reasons I like October is because it is the beginning of SOUP WEATHER!  We eat soup all year long but there is just something about the crisp fall air that practically begs for me to serve soup.  Time to try a new recipe!  Something earthy... Mushroomy... <drool>

Thank you for the use of this image.
I did an internet search for Mushroom Soup and found that there are tons of good-sounding recipes so I took from what I'd read and put a combination together of what sounded like what we would like the best.  My son and daughter-in-law don't particularly care for mushrooms so this will be a soup that we can eat on Fend For Yourself nights.

I do the majority of the cooking but like to have a regular night off every week when everyone takes care of their own food.  Right now that is every Thursday night and the Sundays that my husband has to work (about once a month).  We usually go to a restaurant, get takeout or pull something out of the freezer that just needs heating, but occasionally I'll cook something that Stewart and I like but don't get to cook often because the "kids" don't like it.

Back to the soup... I don't always make my own chicken stock but it really is worth it to do so.  Our whole family likes chicken wings a lot so when I make them, I freeze the wing tips until I have enough to make stock.  I also freeze giblets from whole chickens and the  "rib meat" from chicken breasts to use as well. DO NOT USE THE LIVER FOR STOCK.  It will make it cloudy and unappealing to look at.  Most of the time if I'm making stock from a carcass, I'll put it in the crock pot overnight with water and then strain it out the next morning.  Easy!  I could've done it that way with this but I really wanted to make it on the stove top because of the timing. 

All measures are approximate.  I don't have pictures at this time.  They didn't turn out right.  I'll take better ones next time and edit this by putting them in.

Stock Preparation
4 quart bags of chicken parts
water (barely enough to be level with the top of the chicken)
1 T salt
2 bay leaves
2 large leeks (green parts only)

Put the chicken parts, water, salt, and bay leaves in large soup pot.  Clean the leek tops well and add to the pot.  There is no need to chop them since they will be strained out.  Cook over medium-low heat for a couple of hours.  Strain liquid from solids.  Discard solids.  At this point you could freeze the stock for future use. I refrigerate my stock overnight so that I can remove most of the fat.  A little chicken fat adds flavor but too much just makes it greasy!
Mushroom Preparation
8 cups whole mushrooms (I used a mix of white, baby bella, shitake, and oyster)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste
small head of garlic

Clean mushrooms. (I use water.  Pat dry or drain well.  Kitchen snobs, deal with it!) Rough cut or slice to uniform size.  Layer on large cookie sheet and drizzle with oil.  Toss a bit to distribute oil then sprinkle with salt.  Cut head of garlic in half crosswise.  Rub cut sides in oil then turn to face upward on cookie sheet alongside mushrooms.  Roast in a 375* oven for 25 minutes until mushrooms are dark but not crisp.  Remove garlic and smoosh the soft insides out of the papery peels. Give the mushrooms another rough chop if they are bigger than you want.
Soup Preparation
 6 to 8 cups Chicken Stock
Roasted Mushrooms
Roasted Garlic
2 - 3 sprigs fresh thyme (Clean and strip leaves from the twig.  You can either leave the leaves whole or chop them.)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 pint heavy cream

Bring stock to the boil and add mushrooms, garlic, thyme leaves and lemon juice.  Reduce heat and simmer for about half and hour.  Remove from heat and stir in cream.  Ladle into bowls and serve with bread or crackers (I need to find some low carb croutons!)  Enjoy!

Hubby says this goes on the list to make on a regular basis :-)

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