Thursday, January 1, 2009

mushroom quinoa stew.

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This. Soup.

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This soup was phenomenal. We had soup on the menu for this week, and when Jason told me what he wanted to do, I was just kind of like, "Oh, that sounds... pretty good, I guess." I like mushrooms okay, but I've had my share of lousy mushroom experiences so I wasn't super pumped about it or anything. I also like quinoa, (that's pronounced keen-wah, by the way) but I wasn't sure how excited I was to have it in a soup. My reservations couldn't have been more misplaced, this might have been the best soup my husband has ever made for me.

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The soup began a few days ago when Jason made a large batch of chicken stock. It simmered for a few hours and the onions on top began to caramelize, lending a deep golden hue. For this soup, I would HIGHLY recommend starting with your own stock rather than store-bought. Just get a large pot, roughly chop 3 large stalks of celery, 3 large carrots, 3 medium yellow onions, smash some garlic, and throw it in the pot on medium-high heat for a few minutes and let the vegetables sweat for a moment or two. Then add a chicken carcass (or if you don't feel like, or know how to hack up a whole chicken, get some cow bones from the meat dept. at your grocery store and use those. Unroasted beef bones make a "white stock" that tastes a lot like chicken stock.) and cold water. Bring to a boil and immediately turn the heat down, simmering at a low temperature for 4-5 hours, skimming frequently. Jason's culinary school textbooks say to blanch the carcass first by covering it with cold water, bringing it to a boil, and then pouring out that water, but we've never had any problems doing it our way, so whatever you'd like, I guess.

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Mushroom Quinoa Stew:

About 8 cups of chicken stock
A heaping plateful of mushrooms, chopped into bite-sized hunks. (we used shiitake, portabella, and criminis)
1 yellow onion, cut in half then slivered
a few cloves of garlic, finely minced
Juice of half a lemon
Brown mustard (something fancy, if you've got it. Stone ground whatever.)
Large handful of fresh spinach
1 cup of quinoa (Jason suggested subbing barley if you can't find quinoa, but barley will thicken your soup a LOT, so use it sparingly, like half a cup or less for the whole pot, I'm guessing.)
Fresh Thyme
Hunk of butter

In a large stock pot, saute onions & garlic with chopped mushrooms. Squeeze in juice of half a lemon, a generous squirt of brown mustard, and throw in a chunk of butter. Stir frequently while sauteing, and when everything begins to cook down and soften, add 6 cups of chicken stock, and a few sprigs of fresh thyme.

In another pot (or you can just use a rice cooker, like we did) cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of chicken stock. Keep to the side until the end.

To the soup pot, add 2 whole chicken legs (thigh & drumstick, bone-in, skin removed.) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming the soup every so often. When meat is cooked, remove chicken legs, shred meat, and return to pot.

Add cooked quinoa, a handful of fresh spinach, and more mustard and lemon juice (and zest, if you'd like) to taste.

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You guys, I know it sounds kind of weird. I totally balked at the idea of mustard in soup, for instance. I don't know WHERE he came up with this shit, I was bugging him about it the whole time we were eating. The conversation sort of went like this:

"So, where'd you come up with the idea for this soup, honey?"
"I don't know, it just sounded good."
"Well, is it based on any traditional type of recipe?"
"No, I just kind of wanted a mushroom soup that wasn't too thick."
"What on earth gave you the idea to put mustard in it!?"
"Mustard tastes good on mushrooms!"

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Seriously, though- this is one of those recipes that had me making involuntary noises the whole time I was eating it. The flavor is almost impossible to describe, but I can tell you that it struck a perfect balance between hearty and light. The flavors were rich and complex without being muddled, the mustard and lemon juice lent a brightness without overpowering or turning it sour. It felt substantial, but it was still brothy enough to feel like a soup. The quinoa gave it an extra dimension of texture without being mushy or overcooked. In short, it was the perfect soup. Starting with a good stock and then cooking the soup with bones in it made it incredibly savory, and left the meat tender and juicy. This soup is going straight on a recipe card and into my box for safekeeping.

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31 comments:

Bijoux said...

Happy New Year!! I've been a lurker for a while and just had to comment on this soup. It sounds incredibly tasty! I LOVE mushrooms. And quinoa is just so versatile it takes on the flavour of anything you add it to. I have a pound of mushrooms in my fridge that need a new home :-)

heidi said...

you sure make healthy food! jeesh!

Aran said...

beautiful. i love the close ups of hands. i find them so evoking. happy new year!

Jennifer said...

Wow this sounds amazing, I have one sick kiddo and the rest of us aren't feeling too perky, this sounds like just the ticket! and by some random act of God I have all the ingredients!

tony a.k.a. isweatbutter said...

can we talk about how utterly delicious this soup must be? and i got some amazing wild shrooms from a friends hydro beds. i do believe this soup will do them justice.

Alicia Carrier said...

heidi, we try to eat healthy whenever we can! last night we had bacon cheeseburgers for dinner though, i hope that makes you feel better :)

Alexandra said...

Brilliant! I just bought a bunch of mushrooms and several pounds of quinoa (thank you, bulk bins at the co-op). I will definitely be making this.

Middle Way said...

Thanks for the awesome recipe!

Paige said...

Oh shoot! I should have actually read through the whole recipe before shopping for it. Missed the part about the chicken entirely. Off to the grocery store while my quinoa cooks (I'm so glad I live close enough to a decent grocery store that that's possible).

AshinMT said...

What a beautiful post. Not only does the soup look amazing (im foaming at the mouth, i have always loved mushrooms and this may be the way to get my boyfriend to eat them)But just your photos and how much you enjoyed the soup made it a pleasure to read. Thanks! Happy new year.

Alicia Carrier said...

Paige, let me know how it turns out! It was a very off-the-cuff soup, so hopefully the recipe is easy to follow. Everything my husband put in, he did 'to taste' and I know how annoying it can be when there aren't any good measurements to go by :)

Dawn said...

yeah this does look like a soup that warms right to the bones...nice

Trish Sharp said...

i think i have everything but the chicken. looks good and i've been meaning to use the quinoa i got just sitting in the pantry. maybe a small starter version for the weekend. yummy.

Nadja Vol said...

Fabulous! My husband and I just gulped down the most tasty hot bowls of this soup! It reminded us of a miso soup. I might try adding tiny chunks of tofu for a variation next time, instead of meat. I also made a few modifications due to lack on ingredients and it turned out wonderful! I added left over shredded turkey meat and used dried thyme leaves. Also I added a dark yellow horseradish mustard, nervously, but it works too!

leya said...

I'm making this pronto. Looks so good.

Rachel said...

This looks AMAZING. I'm totally trying that, although I'll need to try a vegan version...hmmm...

lisa said...

I need no convincing that this soup would be excellent - I love all the ingredients. And so healthy. My husband stopped eating dairy and he's not a fan of beans, so many of longtime soup recipes don't work for him anymore. I will definately try this. So glad I read the blog before heading out to the grocery store today. Thanks!

denise said...

Oh, that looks good. I've been on a stew/soup roll with this cold weather...gotta try this!

Alicia Carrier said...

rachel! if you wanted to make this vegan, my suggestion would be to make a mushroom stock! get some chanterelles if you can (i know, not cheap. my friend made it with some that were getting thrown out at the grocery store he worked at. if you know someone who works at a grocery store, ask them if they can get you some!) and make a big pot of veggie stock, then throw in a ton of mushrooms. my friend tells me that chanterelles make a very 'chickeny' broth.

Michelle said...

Oh man does that sound good! I think the mustard is a great idea. Love it. Thanks!

TKTC said...

I am also a lurker and this just looks too beautiful not to say so! I can pretty much smell it from Chicago and have an overwhelming urge to dunk the bread.

Small Footprints said...

This looks fabulous and so healthy. I, too, would go for the vegan version.

Thanks for sharing! Now I'm off to read your vegetarian recipes. :)

Small Footprints
http://reducefootprints.blogspot.com

rachel said...

I made this Monday night and it was so delicious! I subbed vegetable broth, but even the meat eaters I served it to thought it was wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Raechel said...

This is really yummy soup! Made it last night. I didn't have any quinoa on hand so I made a box of TJ's spelt mix and added that to the soup after it was finished. Sooo good!

j.p. patrick said...

This soup looks great! I made one somewhat similar a few nights ago. Check it out;
www.fastfeetandfeasts.blogspot.com

Jess in boston said...

Hi there! I don't remember how I found your blog, but I've been following it for a few months and really enjoying it. Thank you!!

I made this stew tonight, and wow -- so perfect for a cold night, both delicious and satisfying. I can't wait to have it again for lunch tomorrow. Thank you!!

Jess in boston said...

oops -- meant to add that rather than chicken thighs, I used spinach and feta chicken sausage. Yum!

Fanny said...

Me and my boyfriend Bill made this soup yesterday, it was so delicious!
We also tried the italian wedding soup which was amazing too!
Thank you for these great recipes, your blog is the best!

Monica said...

I just made this and, wow, it's so good (I knew it would be). I love this because not only is the flavor amazing, but it's also perfect winter comfort food without being too heavy like most comfort foods are. I substituted tofu for chicken just because that's what I was in the mood for, but I'm sure it's amazing either way! Thanks for posting this!

Stacey said...

I made this expecting it to taste like quinoa cooked in chicken broth, but dooooode...if Heaven were real, it would be made of this soup. I hope you don't mind that I posted the recipe on my food blog. I gave your site credit for it and your husband is a quinoa genius.

malka said...

that stew is perfect for a cold weather. I wonder how the aroma smells like.


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