Cream of Chicken Soup

I was pleasantly surprised how nicely this worked. I’d made a Cream of Chicken Soup a few weeks ago, and while it tasted fine, the consistency left a lot to be desired.  I didn’t want to use heavy cream and butter, because these are lunch soups and something that heavy would leave me unable to function in the afternoons.

I remembered hearing someone used sweet potatoes to thicken chicken pot pie, and as luck would have it, I wanted to get more sweet potatoes in my diet.  I’m not a huge fan, so soup seemed like a place to start.  I decided  I’d try this as a solution to thicken my soup.

Then surprise, I found that there are white sweet potatoes, which probably lowers the nutritional content, but is more aesthetically pleasing in the soup.  I used one large potato for a full pot of soup.  That combined with a bit of flour thickened the soup beautifully, better than any cream base I’ve made and added a sweet flavor to the whole thing.  To balance the sweetness I upped the spice factor.

I’ll do this one again.

Cream of Chicken Soup

  • 1 large white sweet potato, steamed and peeled*
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts and 2 boneless thighs
  • 3 cups water
  • Spice packet**
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp oregano, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (start with 1 tsp, but you’ll probably want all of it)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 cups water (use the sweet potato water)

Large saucepan

Add chicken, water and spice packet to saucepan, cover, bring to boil, reduce to low boil and let simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, in blender, blend milk, sweet potato and spices.  Set aside.

Remove chicken to cool on a plate and  toss spice packet.   After chicken cools either dice or shred.

Meanwhile in saucepan, whisk  flour into broth, bring to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce heat to medium.  Add vegetables and stir in milk mixture and additional water.  Add chicken and bring to a low boil while stirring constantly, reduce heat and simmer on low for 20 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

* Cut potato into thirds, steam in a covered saucepan.  Retain water and use as the additional water for soup.  Cool and slip peels off.

**Spice packet – add fresh or dried rosemary, basil, fresh garlic cloves, 1/2 of a cut up onion, celery leaves, small carrot pieces to cheesecloth and tie (or use a spice ball – I actually use a large tea ball).

Okay, hopefully I haven’t forgotten anything.  I didn’t write anything down as I went tonight because I wasn’t convinced this was going to work.

Sweet Potato/Chorizo Soup

Someone was touting Jamie Oliver’s recipe for this the other day in comments on another blog.  Sorry, don’t remember who is was or they’d get a hat tip.  Googling for the recipe turned up this blog with the recipe transcribed from Mr Oliver’s cook book.  One of his books?  Not going to chase after that info.  LOL

The ingredients are pretty simple.  The only thing I wasn’t sure of was the curry powder.  It called for “Madras” curry powder, something I don’t have, pretty sure I don’t have it anyway.  I do have some Jamaican curry powder so I used that.  A bit of research tells me that Madras curries are generally red, and tend towards spicy hot.  The Jamaican curry today was more yellow and not particularly hot.  I think the chorizo in the recipe is the Spanish kind, as it calls for slices of the sausage.  I used my own homemade chorizo, a “fresh pork” style of sausage.  Whatever the differences, the soup today was a big hit.  Very tasty, not too hot for Mrs J.

How I did it:

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Sweet Potato Soups

As promised here are two recipes, one sweet and one a sweet and spicy mix, for Sweet Potato Soup.

Sweet Potato Soup

  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked sweet potatoes*
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk (or 1/2 cup cream and 1/2 cup milk)
  • salt and pepper to taste

saucepan

In a  saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt butter, add flour,  stirring constantly until roux achieves a light caramel color. Add the broth and brown sugar, bring to a quick boil, again, stirring constantly, then lower to a simmer. Stir in the sweet potatoes and spices, bring to a simmer again, and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. In a blender, puree the soup in batches and return to saucepan. Add the milk/cream, and reheat soup. Season with salt and pepper, ladle into warm soup bowls and serve.

*I slice mine in half, lengthwise, and steam (using the steaming tray and just enough water to cover the tray) in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes and they’re done.  Let cool and slip off skins.

The next one is one I’m definitely going to give a whirl.  It sounds really good, so I’m passing it on before I test it.  Once I do, I’ll update you with any adaptations I make.  It is from a blog creatively named Homesick Texan:

…you don’t really need a special occasion to eat it. I find that I love it best on those cool, quiet evenings when I’m seeking something simple and satisfying. And this chipotle sweet potato soup always does the trick.

Chipotle sweet potato soup
Ingredients:
2 pounds of sweet potatoes (about two large or three skinny ones), peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
2-4 chipotles in adobo (depending on your heat tolerance) chopped
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
Sour cream
Cinnamon-chipotle pecans (recipe to follow)

Method:
Heat the olive oil on medium low in a large soup pot, and cook the onions, celery and carrot for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add the sweet potatoes, broth, chipotles, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.

Let the soup cool, and then in batches, puree it in the blender. If you prefer, you can use an immersion blender in the pot instead.

Once the soup has been pureed, stir in the lime juice and add salt and black pepper to taste.

Serve topped with a dollop of sour cream and some of the chopped cinnamon-chipotle pecans.

Serves 8

Click on over for her Cinnamon chipotle pecans recipe to complete your soup.

Just a note from me, because I’m basically a lazy cook, but since the veggies are going to be pureed, you can leave everything in fairly large pieces, it shouldn’t affect cooking time much, maybe an extra 5-10 minutes to cook the larger pieces.

She has some really good recipes and I’m going to be trying more of them.  The Chipolte Mac’n Cheese looks to die for.

EDIT:  Oh great, now I want Frito Pie.

Thursday Night Menu: End of Summer Grilling Edition

StripedDress

Once again I’m playing hooky on a Thursday. It’s been a stressful few weeks and I’m lucky enough to have good friends who want to go out and play hooky, too. Today I remembered to put together the menu before I took off.

Since it’s been such a crazy week I wanted something simple for the menu tonight. But, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s not tasty. And we gotta get those last few weekends of grilling in before summer ends. If you’re up for adventure, you can try grilling the sweet potatoes on the grill, wrapped in foil or placed in a grilling basket. Also, for those who have requested it, I am working on a Tapas menu, just needs some testing before it goes up. Maybe in the next two weeks or so I’ll post it. Something to look forward to. If anyone else has other requests for menus, let me know, it’s always more fun if I have to go on a scavenger hunt to prep a menu.  And a final update:  my tomatoes are still not ripe.  They sit there, abundant and green, mocking me.

On the board tonight:

  1. Cheesy Burgers
  2. Kaiser Rolls
  3. Cajun Sweet Potato Fries
  4. Raw Vegetable Tray
  5. Plums

Cheesy Burgers

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar or jalapeno jack
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 4 green onions, chopped (opt)
  • ¼ cup diced tomatoes (opt)

large bowl

In bowl, mix together all ingredients until well blended. Make 4 patties, create a hole in the middle of each patty, like a doughnut and then flatten. This will help the burgers cook faster and keep the cheese from burning. Lightly oil your grill, broiler or skillet (to keep cheese from sticking) and cook over medium heat, until cooked through (time will depend on thickness of burgers and temperature).

Cajun Sweet Potato Fries

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • ¼ tsp cumin (opt)

large bowl or baking dish and baking sheet

Cut potatoes into quarters lengthwise, then cut each quarter into 2 or 3 lengthwise slices. In bowl, toss with remaining ingredients and place in a single layer on baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes, turn and bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown outside and tender inside.

Plums

If you grilled the burgers you can also grill the plums. Slice in half, remove the pits and grill over low heat

Shopping List:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar or jalapeno jack
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 tomato
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 4 large Kaiser rolls
  • Favorite raw vegetables
  • Vegetable dip
  • 4 to 8 plums

Also: cumin, Cajun spice, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, crushed garlic

New Picnic Side: African Sweet Potato Salad

When we were discussing last night’s menu over on another blog a couple of other African recipes came up.  One was West African Peanut Chicken.  I promised I’d put up a West African side dish that goes well with the chicken.  I’ll track down the chicken recipe and post that later.  Until then, this is a tasty sweet potato dish that is easy to put together and would be a great addition to any picnic or BBQ.

African Sweet Potato Salad

If you’ve only had sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, this is surprisingly refreshing.

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes – precooked
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • ½ onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped

Large glass or plastic bowl

Slip skins off potatoes and cube. In bowl mix oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper, add potatoes, onion, celery and toss. Refrigerate until serving.

Precook potatoes: Bring enough water to cover potatoes to a boil. Add scrubbed potatoes to water, bring back to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until tender. Drain and cool completely, then you’ll be able to slip skins from them easily.