Soup Season

It is soup season here in New England and homemade soup is often overlooked in favor of opening a can. I have opened many a can and will in the future I am sure, but this particular day I opted for an easy homemade version.

I used only a couple fresh items (celery, onion, chicken) and the rest came from the pantry and freezer.  It started out as a thought of “chicken corn chowder” but when I discovered that I actually only had a 1/4 of a bag of frozen corn in the freezer, it quickly became “use up some of the other random frozen veggies in the freezer soup.”

creamy chicken veggie and rice soup

I started by sauteing the cut up chicken pieces in butter. (The flavor is in the “brown!”) Next I sautéed the celery and onion  in the pan. (classic technique) I used a can of cream of mushroom soup (everybody’s “favorite recipe-add-in!”) to give the soup a rich creaminess. The frozen veggie selection could really be anything you like that happens to be hanging around your freezer: peas, squash cubes, you name it!  Some left over cooked rice at the end gave this soup a hearty nature.

The Recipe

1 1/2 cups +/- (3-4 small stalks) of celery ( I like to peel the strings first before dicing – it really makes a difference!)

1 1/2 cups +/-  (1/2 medium) onion – diced

1 cup frozen corn (fresh or frozen)

1 cup chopped/sliced carrots (fresh or frozen)

1 cup lima beans (frozen or fresh if you can get your hands on them!)

1 can (10 oz) cream of mushroom soup (I happen to have a version with roasted garlic too – it made a nice difference)

2 cups low sodium chicken broth/stock (heated up)

1 lb chicken cut into bite size pieces – no bones or skin. (I used white meat but dark would be delicious)

2 tsp poultry seasoning

1 tsp dry sage

2-4 tablespoons butter to saute ( use oil if you like instead)

Salt and pepper to taste/season

Coat the chicken pieces in 1 tsp of the poultry seasoning and a pinch of salt and pepper. Brown the pieces with 2 tb of butter in a heavy bottom pot over med-high heat. Remove and set aside. Add more butter if pot is too dry and saute the onions and celery with another pinch of S/P until softened and golden. Add the chicken pieces back in. De-glaze the pan with the 2 cups of stock. Add in the can of soup*.  Add the 2nd tsp of poultry seasoning and the dry sage. ( leave out the extra sage if you’re not a fan of a heavy sage-flavor.) Bring up to a low simmer. Add the corn, lima beans and carrots.** Let the soup simmer, partially covered, for 20-25 mins until chicken is fully cooked and tender. Add the cooked rice and warm through before serving.  Taste for seasoning and adjust salt and pepper to taste. NOTE: I don’t add the rice till just before serving so the soup doesn’t get too gummy.

* use a gluten-free brand of soup if you want this dish to be completely GF.

** if using raw carrots add them in with the celery and onion in the saute to help get them started cooking and softening.

Makes approximately 4-6 bowls depending on how big your servings.








Chicken Corn Stew

chicken corn stew


1 forgotten random frozen chicken breast on the bone (split breast)

1 large-ish onion peeled and quartered

a pinch of whole peppercorns

1 peeled but whole garlic clove

salt – liberal amount

water – about 6 cups

slow cooker and about 4-6 hours to run it on high

“almost-caramelized-but-not-quite” onions – start with about 1/2 of a large fresh one.

2 +/- tbsp butter

couple diced bacon strips if you happen to have some on hand.

couple cups of frozen corn

roux:  2  +/- tbsp flour   Or   slurry: 2 +/- tbsp water and 2  +/- tbsp arrowroot, mixed

chopped up leftover fresh herbs hanging around the refrigerator from who knows when. (thyme, sage, rosemary, etc)

a couple of red potatoes. dice small and/or parboil if you wish.


Combine the top 6 ingredients together in the slow cooker and turn on high for 4-6 hours. Turn off and let cool while you brown-almost caramelize- a fresh 1/2 onion sliced thin (In the bacon fat/slices if you are using  – plus 2 tbsp of butter) in a heavy-bottom large pan. Now add the flour for the roux method and cook a minute.  (otherwise skip this step and move on)

Deglaze the pan with the strained stock from the slow cooker. Whisk and cook a few minutes. If using slurry method instead of roux, add your slurry now and whisk.

Add the fresh herbs, the cooked chicken meat from slow-cooker breast, the frozen corn, and the potatoes. Salt and pepper liberally. Thin with plain hot water if need be.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are cooked and you can no longer stand the yummy smell filling the house. Serves 4 heartily.

“Earl Stew”

There’s nothing like a hurricane to make you want to cook up something warm and cozy for dinner! That and the fact that I wanted to try out my new rice cooker.

As Earl passed by I decided to create a “chicken stew” over rice.  I had chicken breasts in the fridge along with an onion and some nice mushrooms that I have been eating all week in my salads. Some frozen corn and peas would add a nice “veggie factor” and make room in the freezer for this year’s garden bounty. Add in some items from the cabinet like rice, flour, spices and chicken stock  and we’ve got an old-fashioned cabinet stew!

First order of business: the rice cooker. There was a discrepancy between the rice cooker directions and the rice package directions in terms of the rice to water ratio. I decided to defer to the package. 2:1 water to rice. I am glad I did and might even go with a tiny bit more liquid next time. ( I used stock instead of plain water to boost the flavor.)

Look at it in action!

By the way this was given to me for my wedding anniversary! Funny how appliances become more exciting than jewelry after more than a few years of marriage.

Back to the stew. I chopped the chicken into large chunks and sprinkled a healthy dose of my favorite all-purpose seasoning; Emeril’s Essence. Then in my heavy cast iron pot I browned the chicken in 1 tablespoon of oil. Just as that was developing some color I added one med onion chopped. A few minutes later the sliced mushrooms. I let everything saute together for a few minutes. However, my pan was a bit small…

and in the words of the great …

“they won’t brown properly if the pan is crowded!”

I should have broken out the big daddy pot but I added 4 Tablespoons of butter instead and everything was instantly made better! This gave richness and set me up for a roux. I added 4 tablespoons of flour – let it all cook a minute and slowly stirred in a cup of milk to create a thick stew. I could have stopped there but I added in 2 cups of chicken stock to thin it to the right consistency and now the dish would serve 10 people heartily! I know portioned and frozen leftovers will make great heat and eat lunches!

I added most of a bag of frozen corn, some rosemary and some rubbed sage; and of course salt and pepper. I let the whole thing simmer for 10-20 minutes more. Here what it looked like before frozen peas!

Throw in the frozen peas and a couple healthy shakes of Frank’s hot sauce to give it a little bit of “brightness” and serve in wide bowls over the rice!

Although delicious, here is what I might do differently next time:

  • I might chop the chicken smaller and/or simmer a little longer as it wasn’t as tender as it could have been – also chicken thighs would be terrific in this dish!
  • I think I will add diced carrots to really give it that “school lunch effect” next time (see picture above) but in all seriousness any veggies would be great!
  • I would puree some of the corn or add a can of creamed corn for more of a “corn chowder” effect.
  • Also if I didn’t feel like creating the roux and essentially my own white sauce; I think a can of “cream of anything except tomato soup” would do the trick nicely!

Have a great storm and try an “earl stew” of your own!

Julia Child photo courtesy of