Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the earthy smells and aromas seeing and the abundance of harvests dot our countryside with stands and farmers' markets. It seems everywhere we go we see signs for bags of apples, freshly picked corn and pumpkins. Farmers markets are selling jams and pies and homemade fudge, and bundled cornstalks and grapevines to decorate our doorways.
I even saw one local enterprising farmer selling hay and bagged manure for $3.00 a bag.
The green meadow across the road from me is golden and the uncut hay sways in the breezes. In my own yard, my lavender phlox perfumes the air, and the last of my rose buds their valiant final flush before the killing frost.
As the night air and harvest moon usher in the waxing summer sun, there is a new coolness, welcomed but nonetheless foreboding of more frigid weather in the short months ahead. (The cats do not want to even stick their little noses outside; they are content open up one eye, give one long lazy stretch in acknowledgment of our presence, and then curl up again into the late morning.) My attention is on soups and breads to warm our stomachs and our hearts. The heat from the oven warms the kitchen, and its warmth draws us in, inviting us to linger.
The cream of chicken soup was very good. I think the chicken, as cooked according to the recipe, was too dry. It definitely needs less cooking than specified in the directions. The good news is, I absolutely loved the foundation of this soup; this is the soup base I've been looking for to make other chowders such as corn and clam. The onions and potatoes were perfectly flavored by the bacon, the flavors intermingling and blending and fully complimenting each other.
We have certain "go withs" when I make soup; one of them is a nice hot roll. I saw these 30-minute dinner rolls on The Sisters' Cafe, and I could not resist the temptation to have hot dinner rolls without all the rising times. Melanie states in her post that she thought they weren't fluffy enough; I thought the fluff factor was quite satisfactory, grins. (I made two pans of eight rolls, so perhaps mine were a little larger?) Also, even though her recipe didn't specify, I lightly kneaded the dough for several minutes to make a smoother looking dough and added additional flour to roll into balls. I used active yeast for these, and I'm wondering if these might not have been a little better with instant or rapid rise yeast. (They require less rising time than active yeast.) What I did find to be a drawback is the lack of the signature yeasty flavor that is imparted with long risings. I thought these were a tad on the bland side. That would not stop me from making these again, as I think they're terrific in a pinch, though I do have other hot roll recipes that I much greatly prefer when time allows.
Cream of Chicken Soup
3 slices bacon, chopped
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast (about one breast)
2 tablespoons butter
3 large potatoes, chopped
3 large onions, chopped
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup heavy cream
fresh parsley for decoration and color
In a good sized stock pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, combine the bacon and chicken, and without any added fat, fry for about ten minutes. Stir frequently to ensure that these do not burn or stick to the pan.
Add the butter, potatoes, and onions, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring all the time.
Add the broth and milk; bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30-45 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper. Just before serving add the cream and simmer (do not boil) for another 5 minutes. Garnish with parsley.
I was thinking that this needed another spice to really round out the flavor. Thyme maybe?