Tag Archives: heavy cream

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

Yes, I’m calling it soup and my husband will just have to deal with it. I’ll make him some garlic bread to dredge in it.

I’m starting with packaged chicken stock, but cooking the chicken in that stock for a double punch of chicken flavor, and I’m not removing the skin from the chicken, because —chicken fat! You can’t overestimate the importance of chicken fat in your soup for flavor. Then, I’m using a combination of brown basmati and wild rices, cooked in the stock, so they soak up all that flavor and do some thickening.

I used 3 chicken thighs, bone-in skin-on, and 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts. While it was a lot of meat, it was just fine for the 2+ quarts of soup.

Creamy Chicken Rice Soup

  • Servings: makes 2 quarts
  • Difficulty: easy
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Stock and chicken:

3 large chicken thighs, with skin and bones, browned in 1 tablespoon bacon fat

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 large carrot, cut in large chunks

1 large yellow onion, with skin, cut in half

top of large celery bunch, about three inches, including leaves

2 quarts chicken stock, packaged or homemade

1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

  1. Brown chicken thighs in 1 tablespoon bacon fat in large stock pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken breasts and continue to simmer the thighs in the stock, covered, for another 30 minutes.
  4. Remove thighs. Strain stock and return to pot.
  5. Pull the chicken into rough shreds or cut uniformly while the rice cooks.


1 cup brown basmati rice

1/4 cup wild rice

tender heart of celery bunch (about 1 1/2 cups), including leaves, thinly sliced

3-4 carrots, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)

about 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

  1. Bring strained stock to boil and stir in rices and vegetables.
  2. Reduce to simmer, cooking. covered, for about 45 minutes or until done.

Finishing soup:

pulled chicken (about 4 cups)

2 cups heavy cream

Optional: about 1 cup frozen corn

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Add chicken to simmering stock; return to simmer.
  2. Add cream, salt & pepper to taste, and corn, if using. Return to simmer, cooking until heated through, especially if you added frozen corn.
  3. If you prefer a thicker gravy, here are some tips from The Kitchn on ways to thicken soup: http://www.thekitchn.com/soups-on-7-ways-to-make-any-so-106057


Parmesan Crackers from Pie Crust

Several years ago, I made a terrific blue cheese shortbread to take to a gathering, but I didn’t write down the recipe and haven’t found one on the web that seems like it, but I keep looking. I’m sure I’ll just improvise on a basic shortbread recipe someday, but today I’m making crackers by adding cheese to basic pie crust dough. Adding cheese surely changes up the results you would get if you just baked pie crust cutouts, because cheese is another fat and you already have butter in the dough. I’m not sure how that will work. Then, I’m going to add cream instead of water to the dough, just because I have some on hand and it will add another layer of richness. What I’m hoping for is a rich, flaky pie crust texture that is a little more tender than crisp. As usual, this is a test.

I started with Michael Ruhlman’s basic 3-2-1 pie crust, substituting cream for water and adding cheese without taking any of the butter out.

The results? Salty, buttery, cheesy, flaky, tender. Very nice.

Parmesan Crackers from Pie Crust

  • Servings: makes a lot of crackers
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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12 oz all purpose flour (weighed in at about 2 1/3 cups today)

3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, finely grated

2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cut in small dice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground

1/4-1/3 cup heavy cream

sea salt for topping

I made the dough in a food processor. Preheat oven to 400° when you take the dough out of the refrigerator.

  1. Place flour, salt, pepper, and cheese in food processor, pulsing briefly to mix.
  2. Add butter and process until combined. I processed it until the butter was cut into a small grain size, but I’m sure you could pulse it to have larger chunks of butter. My thinking was that I wanted a more uniform rising in the crackers. Even with all that processing, the crackers are still very tender and flaky.
  3. Add the cream, or whatever liquid you decide to use, through the processor chute while processing, until the dough begins to form a ball. I think you want a dough that holds together a little better than some crumbly pie doughs, but that’s always my preference. I don’t have any trouble working with a moist dough, as long as it’s not sticky.
  4. Scrape out the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, shape into a rectangle about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap completely and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
  5. Remove chilled dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out to about 1/8 inch—the crackers will rise quite a bit, to 1/4 inch. I tried to roll out my dough evenly, but didn’t. Don’t obsess over it.
  6. Rolled dough can be cut with cookie cutters or with a pizza cutter or crimping tool. I used cutters for the rounds and a pizza wheel for the squares (they’re kinda square, anyway).
  7. Place cut dough on baking sheet lined with parchment. You can make a design in the crackers with a fork or the point of a skewer.
  8. Sprinkle with sea salt or some other topping that won’t burn in the 10-12 minutes of baking.
  9. Bake at 400° for 10-12 minutes. Cool on pan for a few minutes before removing to rack to cool completely.

I’m very happy with the tender, flaky texture of these crackers. If I want a crisper cracker in the future, I might try leaving out most of the butter and using water instead of cream, but these are terrific.

Colorful Potato Corn Chowder

We had our first flakes of snow today, and I spent the whole morning sitting in the woods waiting for deer, with no luck, just wet clothes and boots, so it seemed like a good day for a hearty soup (which we are calling chowder to fool my husband). This is a pretty quick soup, as soups go, but you could make it more homemade by shucking your own corn and making your own chicken or vegetable stock. You could even make it in a slow cooker, and if I were more energetic, I might even make it on the grill.

I’m adding bacon and carrots to this chowder, and though you don’t need a reason to add bacon to anything, I do think it will add the depth of flavor I’m looking for. If you’re looking for a lighter version, skip the bacon and the cream, peel the potatoes, and pulse them in the stock before adding the other ingredients. It won’t be the same as using cream and a roux, but it will be a little thickened, and really, you don’t want a chowder to be thick like gravy, you want it to be more of a thin cream soup.

Colorful Potato Corn Chowder

  • Servings: makes 2 quarts
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 lb thick sliced bacon, diced

1/4 cup bacon fat

3 large carrots, cut in small dice

1 medium onion, diced

2 quarts organic chicken broth

1 bag frozen corn—mine was yellow and white combined

1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon roasted garlic (I roast a lot of it and keep it in logs in the freezer)

3 lbs baby red potatoes, quartered

1 cup heavy cream

roux of 1/2 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup flour

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Cook diced bacon over medium heat until browned in large stock pot. Remove and reserve bacon. Pour off all but 1/4 cup bacon fat.
  2. Sauté diced onion and carrot in bacon fat until the onion is translucent.
  3. Pour in the chicken stock. Stir in the frozen corn, parsley, and garlic. Bring to a low boil.
  4. Stir in the quartered potatoes and boil for about 15 minutes or until done.
  5. Stir in cream and bring to a simmer, then stir in roux, continuing to stir until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. This is a small amount of roux for the large quantity of soup, but you just want to bring the cream and stock together. I think some people make the mistake of making the roux at the beginning of the cooking, then try to cook the potatoes in the thickened stock, and that would result in a lot of sticking in the bottom of the pot. It’s better to stir it in at the end.

Bacon, Roasted Tomato, and Avocado Pasta

Yes, you can roast your tomatoes in the grill, instead of in the oven and use them them in pasta or salsas or eat them like candy. I set up the grill for slow, long cooking with a half snake of briquettes to get me about 4 hours at about 300°-350°. The tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil and thyme, sit on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. You just walk away and think of how to use them. I decided to put them in a bacon avocado sauce over pasta.

If you’ve never cooked your avocado in a sauce, try it. When cooked, it stays green even the next day in the fridge. Just a simple sauce of mashed and sauteed avocado with a little cream and Parmesan is great over pasta. I gilded the lily with bacon and the roasted tomatoes.

chunky red and green sauce

Bacon, Roasted Tomato, and Avocado Pasta

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Grilled Roasted Tomatoes

Set up the grill for indirect, long cooking, using the snake method. I used a snake that went halfway around the kettle grill and lasted 4 hours at around 300°.

  • Place halved and seeded tomatoes on a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. I had 11 tomatoes of various types, mostly plum, with a few round ones.
  • Drizzle olive oil over all the tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and dried thyme.
  • Place pan on grill cooking grate and cover for about 4 hours. Tomatoes should be shriveled and browned around the edges, but still moist. The bottoms will be browned, but not burnt. Check after 2 hours to see how your grill is doing.
  • Remove tomatoes to cool, then to a bowl and set aside.

Making the Sauce

1 lb thick-sliced bacon

2 tablespoons roasted garlic or 1 tablespoon fresh grated garlic

4 ripe avocados

1/2 pint heavy cream

olive oil

roasted tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

1/2 lb cooked pasta—I used whole wheat chiocciole, which I think are supposed to look like snails

pasta water to thin sauce

salt & pepper to taste

  1. Cook the bacon until browned and chewy. Remove to drain and cool, then cut in large chunks.
  2. Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil to 1 tablespoon of reserved bacon fat in skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add roasted garlic and the scooped out flesh from the avocados. Heat, mashing with a potato masher or fork until creamy, but with some chunks of avocado for texture.
  3. Stir in heavy cream and continue heating over low heat or a lower simmer.
  4. Stir in tomatoes and bacon.
  5. Stir in hot pasta water to thin sauce to a good consistency to serve with pasta. I used 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  6. Stir in Parmesan cheese.
  7. Stir in cooked pasta until well coated.
  8. Serve in bowls with more cheese.