Monday, February 21, 2011

I love the end of Winter as much as the beginning!

As excited as I get for the first snowfall, I'm equally excited about the "Spring" thaw. The days get warmer, the nights are still chilly and I can see the beginning of my daffodils pushing through! I also take this time as my last chance to cram in some good winter comfort food. I don't have a strong desire for creamy soups, chili or hearty casseroles in the heat of the summer. I decided to make my own version of a classic comfort item....Chicken Pot Pie, in soup form!

Start with the basics: a few carrots, a few stalks of celery (plus the leafy tops) and 1 small onion. Chop everything about the same size.

Throw into a large pot with a couple cloves of minced garlic and a few TBS of butter. I didn't really measure, just eyeball it :)

After the veggies had cooked for a few minutes, I added two large potatoes (peeled and cubed).

To the pot of veggies and potatoes, add about 6 cups of chicken stock or broth and bring to a simmer for about 25 minutes, or until veggies and potatoes are all fork tender.

I usually make my own stock by boiling a whole chicken. I found chickens a few weeks ago for $.39 a lb! I used just the white meat for this.

Add in the meat and then turn heat to Medium-High and stir in about 1 1/2 cups of Half and Half.

Let the soup thicken a bit and adjust with a cornstarch slurry. Mix a couple TBS of cornstarch with COLD water until smooth and gradually add until soup is thick enough. In the last few minutes of cooking, add a few handfuls of frozen peas and season well with Salt and Pepper. (I use LOTS of fresh cracked pepper!!!)

Serve with your favorite bread or biscuit. A hearty bowl of comfort to celebrate the end of Winter!

***If the soup isn't rich enough for your taste, you could also add a little Chicken Bouillon and use Heavy Cream in place of the Half and Half. ***

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