Cold Weather = Soup

Yesterday it was over 70 degrees outside. It was toasty warm. I wore a tank top. Today, at 3:30 in the afternoon, it was 32 degrees. I went out to run some errands and practically froze to death. (I wore a sweatshirt; in retrospect I should probably have also worn a jacket.) The overnight low tonight is 27. Texas weather is weird.

(While I was out running errands, I dropped a story in the mail, which gets me up to twelve submissions out at market. This is the most subs I’ve ever had out at the same time, so I’m pretty pleased about that.)

Anyway, I had some lovely homemade stock that Maureen made and generously shared with me, and as I mentioned above, it’s cold. So I set out to make a chicken and porcini mushroom soup.

Chicken and Porcini Mushroom Soup

I didn’t use a recipe, but I promised tinaconnolly that I would try to keep track of what went into the soup and tell her how to make it, so here’s what I did:


Chicken bits(6 chicken thighs, cut into bite sized bits)
Dried porcini mushrooms (one package; I forgot to note the size)

1 medium onion, diced
carrots, peeled and chopped (I used 5 large carrots)
celery, chopped (I put in 4 stalks)
potato, chopped (I only had one, but it was pretty big)

steel cut oats* (barley would also work well; about 1/2 a cup)

chicken stock/broth (1 quart)
olive oil (1-2 tablespoons)
flour (1-2 tablespoons)
salt & pepper

Soak the mushrooms in a couple cups of hot water to rehydrate them (it takes about half an hour, so soak them while you chop the veggies). Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken bits and brown them in some olive oil (or other fat of your choosing). Remove from pot and set aside. Saute onion, celery, and carrots until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle a little flour in with the veggies, and add the steel cut oats. Saute for a couple minutes more (the oats get nice and toasty that way). Then put the chicken back in the pot, and add the chicken stock/broth.

Then remove the porcini mushrooms from the water (save the water). Chop the mushrooms and put them in the pot. The mushroomy water may have grit on the bottom, so pour slow, but get as much of the mushroomy water into the soup as possible without getting any of the grit in there. Add some thyme (um…a tablespoon? I just poured some into my palm and threw it in there).

Let that simmer for a while, but not until the end of time (30 minutes to an hour). Taste the soup periodically to see if it needs anything. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Last, add the potato and simmer half an hour more (adding the potato at the beginning tends to yield mushy potatoes, which I don’t really mind, so I often throw mine in with all the other veggies).

Serve soup with a nice crusty loaf of bread. Makes about 8 servings of soup.**

*NOTE: whole oats would also work, but don’t use rolled oats. (I haven’t tried it, but I can’t imagine that would work well.) If you use barley, that needs to simmer longer than steel cut oats do.

**NOTE: It’s a very flexible soup, so if you want more just throw in extra of whatever you happen to have more of.


  1. It sure looks tasty. I made osso buco on Saturday, when it was 74 degrees, and salmon and greens today, when it was 30. I have my food backwards. I wish I’d been eating your soup.

  2. Yummy. Soup looks good. I made chile this weekend. It was the perfect time for it yesterday. Just wait though, tomorrow it will be back up in the high sixties.

  3. It’s unusually cold in Seattle right now – below freezing all week, with snow expected tomorrow. I’m pretty happy about the snow, but it does mean that real winter will be less of a novelty when we go to New England for Christmas.

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