Butternut squash is in season during the autumn, just the time of year when you want to start serving warming soup for dinner. The small amount of cream, just a tablespoon per person, enriches the flavor deliciously. However, you can omit it if you prefer. Shiitakes have a distinctive flavor, but if they're not your favorite, try a different wild mushroom, or use plain white ones.
Warming Soup Recipes
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
2 onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 skinless chicken thighs
5 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 3/4-pound piece butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into approximately 1/2-inch pieces
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
How to Make It
In a large pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove.
Reduce the heat to moderately low. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the onions and celery. Cook, covered, for 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
Add the chicken, stock, dried tarragon, if using, and the remaining 11/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the squash and simmer until the chicken and squash are done, 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove the chicken from the soup. Cut the meat off the bone and then into 1-inch pieces. Skim any fat from the surface of the soup. Return the chicken to the soup. Add the mushrooms, parsley, fresh tarragon, if using, and cream, and heat through.
The mild, supple soup matches nicely with a favorite full-bodied Chardonnay from either California or Washington State.
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