Monday, October 1, 2012

Cool Weather Grub!

Fall is DEFINITELY in the air here in Juneau. It was 36 degrees this morning when I took the hubby to work... You know what that means? I can FINALLY cook soups & stews for dinner! Yay! I am trying to convert my husband over to my way of thinking when it comes to the awesomeness that is a pot of delicious soup... He maintains that "soup is not dinner" but I can usually get him to eat stew or chili with few complaints.

Earlier today, I had a craving for lentil soup. To satisfy my craving, I went to the store to get ingredients while I had a bit of time between when I got off work and when Aaron got off work. While wandering the store, I saw a bag of baby yukon gold potatoes... and changed my mind (I just couldn't convince myself that I could successfully add potatoes to lentil soup). So I could use the potatoes that I immediately craved upon sight, and so I could get Aaron to eat it, I decided to make chicken stew.

Another good thing about soup weather? You don't really need a recipe... Just a good understanding of what tastes good together...

Heat some olive oil in a dutch oven (love my Lodge Enameled Cast Iron one). Cut one chicken breast into cubes, season with salt & pepper, and brown in the oil. When browned, remove the chicken and set aside. Add a bit more oil and then add one red onion, two stalks of celery, and two carrots (all chopped) and cook until the veggies start to soften. Add the baby yukon gold potatoes (roughly quartered, but it depends on the size of the potatoes... just make sure they are about the same size, but not too small, or they'll be mushy) and the chicken. Season with more salt, pepper, and about 1 tsp. of an herb blend (I used herbs de provence, but you can use whatever you like). Then, add 1 quart of chicken broth and let it simmer with the lid on over medium heat. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Mix in some cornstarch (mix it with liquid first, or you'll be sorry.... I used some white wine I had lying around). Thicken it to the desired consistency (Aaron likes it thick, so I used about 2-3 tbsp of cornstarch, but 1-2 would probably be fine). Taste for any additional seasoning it may need. Fresh herbs might be nice (but I didn't have any luck with my kitchen herb garden, so I didn't).

Feel free to add anything else you want to it... soup isn't rocket science and it isn't exactly precise... I RARELY measure anything for my soups. And it is pretty rare for me to have a crappy batch of soup.

I didn't get any pictures of the awesomeness, so you'll just have to take my word that it looked and tasted great. Definitely hit the spot for some comfort food. An added bonus? When I plugged the ingredients in to calculate the calorie count of the dish, it works out to a little over 200 calories per serving. We each had 1 bowl and I separated the rest of the pot into two plastic containers. I figure it is about 6 servings a pot, at these quantities. Sometimes I go a little overboard with soup production, but I successfully reigned it in for this one :)

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