Chicken, Leek, and Mushroom Soup

Happy National Homemade Soup Day! I hadn’t planned it this way but realized the coincidence of this “holiday” when reading Foodimentary’s blog (great blog if you don’t already follow it!).

New Englanders seem to love the cold and as soon as it dips below freezing they hit the slopes or grab their ice skates. I am not a New Englander. I’m not sure how I ended up here as I am the happiest in the tropics where it’s so hot and humid that you are constantly covered in a glowy warm dew. I’d trade my boots for flip flops and parka for a polka dot bikini any day of the year. When the weather dips below freezing I bundle up, bring out my knitting needles, and spend my time making soups and other hearty dishes.

I wanted to make a chicken soup but something a little different, not your mama’s chicken noodle soup. This one, on She Cooks, He Cleans’ blog, caught my eye as it has a little something different in it – apple and apple cider. I’m also a big fan of puréed soups and love any excuse to bust out the immersion blender.

This is a really easy, filling meal and makes great leftovers to take into work. Very flavorful with the apple giving the soup a nice burst of freshness. Not quite like anything I’ve tasted before – definitely a keeper! Hey, an apple a day however we can get it, right?

Chicken, Leek, and Mushroom Soup
From She Cooks, He Cleans

Ingredients:
2 free-range chicken breasts from U.S. Wellness Meats (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
4 cups chicken broth (preferably homemade)
3 tablespoons Kerrygold unsalted butter (grass-fed)
2 leeks, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced, washed thoroughly and dried
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
10 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used a mixture of cremini and shiitaki)
1 tart apple, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pour the chicken broth into a large, heavy pot. Rinse the chicken breast halves with cold water, and place in the pot with the chicken broth. Bring the broth to a simmer, and cook the chicken for 15-20 minutes at low heat. As the chicken is cooking, periodically skim the foam from the broth and discard. Move the chicken to a dish to cool. Pour the chicken broth into a bowl through a fine-mesh strainer, and set aside. Wipe out the pot with paper towels.

Using the same pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Saute leeks and celery until soft, but not browned, for around 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and saute for 2 or 3 minutes,, then add the apple cubes and cook for another few minutes until the mushrooms and apples are soft. Return the strained chicken broth to the pot with the vegetables; stir in apple cider vinegar, dried thyme, and cream. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, partially covered.

In the meantime, cut the chicken into smaller pieces, then shred each piece by hand. Cover the shredded chicken so it doesn’t dry out, and set aside.

After the broth and vegetables have simmered for 20-30 minutes, use an immersible hand-blender to puree the vegetables to a finer consistency. (I like to leave it a little chunky.) Add the shredded chicken to the the soup. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Heat on low for at least 10 minutes. Serve hot, and enjoy!

This isn’t the most beautiful meal to photograph but you get the point.

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