candacecooks

Eat well. You owe it to yourself.

Tag: food

Creamy Mushroom Soup

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Here’s the deal, guys: it is spring break and it’s snowing and I’m upset. Because the only times the words snow and spring break should be in the same sentence is when the word mountains, or possibly skiing, is there too.

Clearly, the only way to comfort myself was to make soup.

But I have another reason to make soup. See, I started reading Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking and so far, I’ve learned that I am doing everything wrong. For starters, I’ve been chopping onions wrong. I have burning eyes and the tears running down my cheeks to prove it. You need to leave the root attached while you chop. Also, I’ve been sautéing all wrong. Did you know that when you’re using butter to sauté, you need to add a bit of oil to stabilize it so it will reach a proper heat without burning? Of course you did, you’ve probably read Julia Child already.

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I needed to put this new knowledge to use. And, while there is a recipe for Cream of Mushroom Soup in the book, it looked….complicated. Whisking in egg yolks? Making your own stock? Sorry, Jules, not ready for that yet. Then, I remembered a recipe I’d pinned a while back for mushroom soup that looked simple, quick, and good. This is more my style, I thought. I made a quick trip to the grocery store to get a buttload of mushrooms. And at that grocery store, I discovered my own hypocrisy when it comes to vegetables.

You know how in the produce section, right next to the bagged lettuce, there are little containers of already chopped onions, peppers, mushrooms, etc? I’ve always looked at those and judged people who bought them as exceedingly lazy. I mean, really, who’s life is so busy that you can’t take the time to chop an onion? No one’s. But there, under those fluorescent grocery lights, I became one of those people. See, the price for a container of the whole mushrooms or a container of the sliced mushrooms was the exact same, and, to my estimation, you can fit more in the box when sliced. At first, it was all about value, I promise! But then I got home, and realized just how long it would have taken to slice five cups of mushrooms. (Have I mentioned how lacking my knife skills are? And reading Julia Child has thrown this into even sharper relief; apparently some people can slice 3 lb. of mushrooms in five minutes. I am not one of those people.)

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Five cups of mushrooms is no joke. Look at this! Anyway, I roughly chopped them into slightly smaller pieces and went on my merry, sautéing, way. No one was the wiser. (Except you, reading this post. Shh, don’t tell.)

I guess, after all this chatter, I should probably say something about what the soup is like, yes? First of all, I want to be clear that it does not in any way resemble the gloppy canned cream of mushroom soup you put in green bean casserole. Gross, no. This soup? It is a flavorful, creamy, warm-you-up kind of soup. The fresh thyme adds a herby, complex fragrance, the mushrooms and onions give you something to chew on, and the heavy cream makes the broth worthy of sopping up with a piece of bread. It is the perfect remedy to an unexpected, unwelcome snow day.

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Creamy Mushroom Soup

Adapted from Season With Spice

5 cups fresh mushrooms – cleaned and chopped (I used a mix of white button and baby portabella)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter

6-8 cloves garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, sliced

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme

5 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

2 1/2 tbsp flour dissolved in 2 1/2 tbsp water

Salt to taste

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk (skim milk is fine)

Heat the oil and butter on medium heat in a large skillet. You can also use the saucepan that you plan to put in the soup in for this step, but I used the skillet to give the mushrooms and onion more space to sauté properly. (Another thing J. Child taught me!) When hot, add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms, onion, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme and sauté until the mushrooms and onions are soft and browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a large saucepan and add the stock. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Mix the flour and water together, and then stir into the soup. Add salt to taste. Stir in the cream and milk, and bring to a slow boil again. Serve immediately.

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Chicken Burgers

This post marks two things in the history of this blog: the second month of blogging (whoo, sticking to it!) and my first recipe using meat. The truth is, while I’m not a vegetarian, I eat very little meat when I’m cooking for myself. It’s expensive, the raw stuff kind of grosses me out, and sometimes meat is just not what it’s cracked up to be. (Don’t tell Ron Swanson.)

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But I recently remembered some chicken burgers I’d made last year, with salty feta cheese and Italian dressing, and I wanted to recreate it, but with more flavor and all-natural ingredients. It seemed like a good recipe for these cold winter months, reminiscent of summer without having to pull out a grill in the freezing cold air.

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These burgers turned out even better than I expected. It’s one of my favorite meals I’ve made in a while, filling and flavorful and different. It seems like a lot of steps, but it really comes together pretty easily and the results are so very worth it. You should make it tonight.

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Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Chicken Burgers

Makes 8 burgers

1 red pepper

1 large piece of bread

1/3 cup milk

1 lb. ground chicken (You can also substitute turkey if you wish)

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ onion, chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp olive oil

½ cup feta cheese

To roast the red pepper, turn your oven to broil and place the pepper on a baking pan on the top rack, flipping every 5 minutes until it is black and charred. While it’s cooking, tear your bread (it can be totally stale, that’s fine) into small pieces into a bowl and pour the milk over. To be honest, I didn’t measure; I just poured the milk over until all of the bread was soaked.

Cut the pepper in half and deseed, then gently peel the skin off – I was able to do this with my fingers – and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in small pan and sauté the onions and garlic until soft and slightly browned.

Drain excess milk from bread. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined. It will look gross. Be thankful I didn’t take any pictures of this.

Heat a large frying pan with a touch of olive oil on medium heat. Scoop the chicken mixture by 1/3 cup and drop onto the pan. Using your spatula, flatten it until it’s about three inches in diameter. Cook for 2 ½ – 3 minutes on each side. If desired, let rest in the pan, away from heat, for about two minutes for extra flavor and juiciness.

Serving suggestions: I served mine on a toasted bun with spring mix and avocado smashed with lime juice and garlic salt. I imagine that caramelized onions, spinach, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, or a myriad of other things would be delicious on this.