Tag Archives: soup

Christmas Lima Bean and Chicken Soup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChristmas Lima Bean and Chicken Soup

I love to make homemade soup during the cold winter months here in Southern Oregon. Several weeks ago I received a bag of dried Christmas Lima Beans as a gift from my uncle and aunt.  I’ve never seen or heard of Christmas Lima Beans before, so naturally, I was really excited to try them.  Christmas Lima Beans are an heirloom variety of Lima Beans that have a lovely white and rust speckled color.  I was surprised to see that they are larger than the traditional white Lima beans that I know and love.  They hold their shape nicely and they darken in color slightly when cooked.


I had no idea how uncommon these big beautiful beans were. I’ve never seen this variety of legume locally in Southern Oregon and after doing some research, I found that I can purchase them online from a grower in the Southern California area. The fact that they are a heirloom variety and non GMO make them complete winners in my book.  One day, when Bruce and I have adequate garden space, I will be planting a few long rows of these amazingly delicious beans. 

My Christmas Lima Bean and Chicken Soup is really easy to make.  It’s hearty, healthy and most of all delicious!  Feel free to substitute the common white Lima beans if you don’t have access to the Christmas Lima beans. Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 cups Christmas Lima Beans (soaked in water overnight, picked over and rinsed well)
  • 2 cups chopped leeks
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 pound cooked chopped chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs)
  • 1 1/2 qt chicken stock (or more as desired)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 – 2 tsp garlic paste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place a heavy bottomed pot on medium high heat add leeks, onion, celery and  carrots.  Cook until onions are opaque, taking care not to burn.  Turn down to medium low heat, add the Christmas Lima Beans, 1 1/2 quarts of chicken stock, thyme, coriander, garlic paste and pepper. Cover and cook with a gentle simmer for a about an hour.  Add cooked chicken and salt to taste towards the end of the cooking process.  Cook until beans are tender.  Taste and correct your seasonings. Makes about 8 servings.

Smoked Steelhead Chowder


I’ve said it before and I can’t help but say it again.  I love living in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon.  And, if you have a few minutes, I’ll give you three reasons why.  First of all, it’s a beautiful place. There are mountains, lakes, and rivers just minutes away.  Second, it’s not crowded like large metropolitan cities such as Portland or Seattle.  You can drive 20 minutes in any direction and end up somewhere in the beautiful Southern Oregon countryside.  Third, I think that it has the best of both worlds.  There’s plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing and camping and also there’s the nearby Oregon Shakespeare Festival, dozens of vineyards and microbreweries, and a number of wonderful restaurants that feature spectacular local ingredients.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Rogue River in Southern Oregon

I always love visiting the Rogue River.  Whether it be for hiking along the banks, rafting or my favorite river activity, fishing.  One day on my lunch hour, I briefly stopped by the Rogue River near Touvelle State Park and decided to snap a few photos.  It was a bit overcast that afternoon but the temperature was nearly perfect.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Looking down at the river from the top of the bridge, it’s easy to imagine large fish swimming in the cold deep water below the surface.  And, if you are lucky, you might even see one!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA fly fisherman on the Rogue River

Many types of fish inhabit the Rogue River.  There’s steelhead trout, Chinook salmon, rainbow trout, green sturgeon, coho salmon, and so many more species of fish.  My two favorites are steelhead trout and Chinook salmon.  I prepare those varieties of fish quite often for my family.  As a matter of fact, I serve fish for my family at least once a week.  When selecting fish, I prefer to prepare wild caught fish as opposed to farm raised fish.  In my opinion, the flavor is better, there are no chemicals or additives, no color enhancements or antibiotics.  If given a choice between wild and farm raised fish, the decision is easy.  Wild caught fish is your best bet.


My Smoked Steelhead Chowder is a deliciously creamy soup made with smoky bacon, roasted russet potatoes, tender onion, fresh  thyme and a splash of heavy cream.  It’s prepared similarly to a  New England style clam chowder but with smoked tender steelhead instead.  It’s great with a slice of warm crusty bread, a crispy green salad or a hot grilled sandwich.  If you are not able to obtain smoked steelhead where you live, feel free to substitute the smoked steelhead with some good quality smoked salmon instead.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1/4 pound Smoked Steelhead Trout (skin and bones removed, chopped coarsely)
  • 5 cups Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbs. Butter
  • 1/3 cup Flour
  • 2 Tbs. Tomato paste
  • 1 pound Russet Potatoes – peeled and diced
  • 1 large White Onion – peeled and diced
  • 4 oz. Bacon – chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh Thyme
  • 1 – 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Seasoning Salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper (or to taste)
  • fresh minced Parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  On a sheet tray or baking pan toss together diced potatoes, diced onions, 1 to 2 tsp. olive oil and seasoning salt.  Arrange potatoes and onions in a single layer to ensure even cooking.  Bake until the potatoes and onions begin to turn golden brown or about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, grab a large heavy pot and place it on the stove.  Turn burner to medium high heat.  Add chopped bacon and cook until the bacon is crispy.  Remove bacon with slotted spoon and set aside.  Turn down heat to low, add 2 Tbs. butter and 1/3 cup flour to the remaining bacon fat to make a blonde roux.  Whisk flour mixture constantly, taking care not to burn, and cook until a very light golden brown.  Whisk 5 cups milk and 2 Tbs. tomato paste and cook until almost ready to boil, whisking constantly.  Add smoked steelhead, bacon, potatoes, onions, 1 tsp. fresh thyme, 1 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning.  Cook, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened and the flour taste has disappeared, for about 1/2  hour.  Add heavy cream, taste and correct your seasonings. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped smoked steelhead trout and fresh minced parsley.  Makes about 2 quarts or 8 servings.

Cream of Chicken Soup


I can’t believe that it has been about six months since I’ve share a single recipe from my kitchen. Well, I’m still here and not a day went by that I didn’t think about it. I have to tell you that a lot has happened over the past year. I’ve watched my son graduate from college at the top of his class and then turn around and head off to law school in Washington D.C., I’m nearing the end of an incredibly challenging software implementation at my work, and Bruce took me on an amazing and much needed vacation to Hawaii.  Now after all that mind boggling activity, I am happy that I am finally getting reacquainted with writing about food and my DSLR camera. Oh, and I almost forgot to tell you. I am in the midst of planning my little garden for this year and I am also teaching myself how to knit.

Now back to the kitchen…  I’m sure that you heard me say this before but, I am going to say it again. I love homemade soup.  Not just one type of soup, but all kinds of soups.  And, one of my favorites is Cream of Chicken soup. I like to enjoy a cup of Cream of Chicken soup served with a fresh green salad loaded with brightly colored vegetables or with a half sandwich piled high with thinly sliced ham or turkey. In my opinion, soup made from scratch is cheaper, tastier and depending on the choice of ingredients can be a much healthier option than store bought or what you get from a restaurant.

creamchicken3 copy

Whenever the weather is cold outside or I am in need of something that is simple and soul soothing, a cup of my homemade Cream of Chicken Soup is just the ticket. My Cream of Chicken Soup has a lovely velvety texture with bits of tender chicken and onion with a hint of thyme, turmeric and bay leaf.


What I really like most about my Cream of Chicken soup is that my sweet husband Bruce loves it! He tells me that he likes the creaminess of the soup and that I make sure that it has plenty of bits of chicken in it. I know that if I can please Bruce with my Cream of Chicken soup recipe, I have a winner on my hands.

It’s feels great to be back in the kitchen.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 onion minced
  • 1 – 2 tsp canola oil
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric or to taste (I tend to use more, I love turmeric!)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • minced parsley for garnish

Begin by chopping the chicken thighs into small tiny bite sized pieces.  Set aside. In a large heavy bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat add the canola oil and onions. Cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly until the onions are cooked through and opaque. Be careful not to burn the onions. Add the chopped chicken and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the chicken is lightly golden brown.  Add the chicken stock to deglaze the bottom of the pot.  Add thyme, white pepper, bay leaf, garlic, turmeric and salt. Cover and the bring mixture to a gentle boil, cooking for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl make a slurry of the flour and milk.  Whisk well to remove any lumps.  Remove the lid from the soup, and take out the bay leaf and any thyme sprigs.

Whisk the flour and milk slurry into the soup. Reduce heat, stir constantly and cook until the soup has thickened and the flour taste has disappeared (about a half an hour). Taste and correct your seasonings, add additional chicken stock if necessary.  Ladle into cups or bowls and sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley for garnish.  Makes about 2 quarts or 8 servings.

Broccoli and Spinach Bisque


Years ago, while growing up, if I wanted to have a bowl of soup for lunch, it came out of a small bright red and white can.  It was called Campbell’s…  Our family always had Campbell’s condensed cans of cream of mushroom, chicken noodle or tomato available in the cupboard ready to add water and heat up.  Back then, I thought that it tasted great for I did not know any better.  Homemade soup was pretty much nonexistent in our diets because we never made it at home and we rarely ate at what I would call a “sit down restaurant”.  And if we did, I would always order a green salad instead of soup.

I was first introduced to making homemade soups after I moved out of the house in my late teens.  I learned how to prepare soups while working my way through college as a short order cook.  As a short order cook, I discovered how easy, inexpensive and delicious homemade soups can be.  In the commercial kitchen, I learned how to make bean soups, cream soups, vegetable soups, noodle soups and so much more.  I strongly believe that my education in the restaurant was as valuable as the high priced education that I received in college.


Today, I want to share with you an easy to make Broccoli and Spinach Bisque.  It’s made with fresh organic broccoli, spinach and leeks in a good quality chicken stock with a hint of white pepper and fresh grated nutmeg.  Instead of using heavy cream with a ton of fat and calories, I’ve lightened it up a bit with some 2% milk.

“Toto, I’ve a feeling that we’re not having Campbell’s anymore”.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 pound broccoli florets
  • 2 cups leeks (white and light green parts only, chopped)
  • 5 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 quart Chicken Stock
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 4 Tbs flour
  • 2 cups milk (2%)

Begin by cooking the leeks in 1 Tbs butter in a large sauce pan.  Cook over medium flame until translucent, stirring constantly taking care not to burn.  Add broccoli, chicken stock and salt.  Cover and cook until broccoli is tender.  Add spinach, grated nutmeg and white pepper and cook a few minutes more.  Meanwhile in a medium sized sauce pan cook butter and flour mixture (making a roux) until a light golden brown.  Add milk, whisk constantly and cook until thickened.  Add milk mixture to broccoli mixture.  Puree with hand blender and cook for a few more minutes.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Ladle into cups or bowls and garnish with chopped green onion or chives.  Makes 2 quarts or about 8 – 1 cup servings.



Egg Drop Soup


Fall is one of my favorite times of the year.  I love it when the leaves on the deciduous trees in my neighborhood turn canary yellow, fiery orange and bright red.  Fresh picked apples, pears and pumpkins are some of the last crops sold at the local farmers markets as the late summer harvest winds down.  Remnants of my little garden will be tossed in a compost bin and added back to the soil next year.  Seeds will be saved.  Pots need to be scrubbed and cleaned and tomato cages need to be stacked.  In a few short months, the seed catalogs for next year will be in my mailbox.  Can you believe it?  I’m already planning next year’s garden.


On the flip side, fall marks the beginning of the cold and flu season.  People walking around with sniffles and barking coughs become increasingly noticeable.  At the grocery store, over the counter cold remedies and boxes of tissue seem to fly off the store shelves.  Hand sanitizer and constant hand washing does help in the prevention of colds but, sometimes there’s no avoiding it.  Once you got it, you’ve got it.  We’ve all had it.  Unfortunately, most of the time, you just have to let it simply run its course…


One of my favorite dishes to prepare while dealing with the common cold is Egg Drop Soup.  My Egg Drop Soup is similar to what you may find at your favorite Chinese restaurant.  My Egg Drop Soup is slightly different for I like to add finely chopped carrots, celery and use galangal root instead of ginger.  It’s easy to prepare, mild in flavor and has a wonderful soul soothing chicken soup like quality about it.  I love curling up on the couch with a good book and wrapping my hands around a warm little cup of my Egg Drop Soup.  Egg Drop Soup certainly won’t cure your cold but it may help you feel just a little bit better.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 quart chicken stock (reserve 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 cup carrot (chopped fine)
  • 1 slice dried galangal root
  • 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
  • 1 1/4 Tbs cornstarch
  • salt to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 or 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce (optional)
  • chives or green onion for garnish

In a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat add 3 cups chicken stock, celery, carrot, galangal, and white pepper.  Bring to a slow boil.  Cook until the celery and carrots are tender.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix together the cornstarch and 1 cup of chicken stock.  Add cornstarch mixture to soup and stir well.  In a small bowl lightly beat eggs.

Now, grab a spoon and stir the boiling soup in a single direction.  Slowly add the egg mixture to the soup stirring gently.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Remove galangal root.  Add soy sauce if desired and garnish with chopped chives or green onions.  Makes about 4 – 1 cup servings.

Redbor Kale and Great Northern Bean Soup


Redbor Kale and Great Northern Bean Soup

On my days off, I love spending my free time in my little garden.  Gardening diverts my attention from my hectic day job into something completely relaxing and calm.  Tending to my plants whether it be watering, weeding or picking bugs off the leaves of my lettuce makes me happy.  I’ve enjoyed gardening for many years and every year and season my garden changes.


My garden is small but very productive.  Two raised beds, a small patch of dirt and several large pots.  That’s it.  I utilize every bit of precious gardening space that I can.  During the spring months, I grow my cool weather crops.  Cool weather crops include kale, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, spinach, kohlrabi and radicchio.  In a few weeks, what you see here will be replaced by tomatoes, squash, beans, cucumbers and corn.  I rotate the variety of plants every year and I make sure that I never put the same plants in the same spot every year.


A bucket of fresh picked Redbor Kale.  I made the decision to harvest all my kale this morning.  I did that because I needed to make room for the tomatoes that I will be planting next weekend. I gave a few bunches of kale away to friends and family and the rest went into the freezer.  I saved one bunch for my Redbor Kale and Great Northern Bean Soup.


Redbor Kale.  If you are not familiar with kale, you need to know that kale does not form a head like lettuce and that it has a cabbage like texture.  I chose the Redbor variety of kale for my garden this year because I liked the purple color on the leaves and stems.  I was not disappointed.  It has a wonderful flavor too.


About four feet away from the kale, I planted a small patch of spinach.  2 packets of seed, warm days, plenty of water and a month later I have almost too much spinach.  I need to start sharing the spinach with friends and family too.  What’s worse is that I am starting to think that Bruce is getting tired of having spinach frequently as a side dish for the past couple of weeks. Fresh spinach is delicious and good for you.  Organically grown spinach like mine, is even better.  In a month or so I will be growing zucchini and yellow squash in its place.  Unfortunately, Bruce despises squash.  In the meantime, I hope that he enjoys his spinach.


My Redbor Kale and Great Northern Bean Soup is a simple recipe that I pulled together for a quick and healthy lunch during the work week.  It’s made with fresh picked kale from my garden, great northern beans, carrots, onion and thyme.  It’s easy to make and tastes delicious.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 small bunch of kale (I used Redbor)
  • 1 can great northern beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 onion (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (diced)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (use more if you like)
  • 1 quart chicken stock. (use vegetable if you like)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Wash and trim the kale.  Be sure remove the stems.  In a medium sized pan over medium high heat saute the onion and carrots in the olive oil until onions are translucent.  Add the great northern beans, garlic, thyme and chicken stock.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook until kale and carrots are tender.  Taste and correct your seasonings and serve.  Makes about 4 servings.

Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup


Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup

It’s been a while since I have posted a recipe.  It’s not because I am lazy or that I have been burned out.  It’s just that when I have a ton of things that need to be done, unfortunately, my website takes a back seat.  My day job and chores around our home come first.  Feral Kitchen unfortunately finishes second.  And quite frankly, I don’t like it one bit…

Well, I’m happy to be back and the recipe that I want to share today is a simple Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup that I prepared for a few of my lunches during the work week.  I packed a bowl and a half sandwich today in my lunch box, and put the other 3 servings in the freezer for lunch at a later date.  My Spicy Bacon Lentil Soup is made with lentils, bacon, onion, carrots, celery, garlic and a healthy hit of cayenne pepper.  It’s simple, flavorful and delicious.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 2 – 15 ounce cans lentils
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 celery stalks (chopped)
  • 2 carrots (chopped)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • garnish with fresh green onion

Begin by rinsing and draining the lentils.  Set aside.  Chop the bacon and add to a large sauce pan.  Over medium heat crisp the bacon and drain.  Add onion and cook until opaque.  Add lentils, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken stock, cayenne pepper, bay leaf, cumin and coriander.  Cook until the carrots and celery until they are tender.  Add salt and black pepper to taste.  Remove bay leaf before serving.  Makes 4 servings.

A Winter Weekend in the Cascade Mountains and Chicken Lentil Soup


Chicken Lentil Soup 

I love living in Southern Oregon.  One of my favorite things to do during the winter months is to visit the Cascade Mountains.  This year our family and friends stayed in some cabins up at Hyatt Lake over the weekend.  Hyatt Lake is about an hour drive from our home but in snowy weather, it may take twice as long.  There was at least 3 feet of fluffy snow on the ground and the temperature was a bone chilling 16 degrees.   The only way we could get up to our cabins was with four wheel drive pickup trucks for there was nearly 10 miles of narrow snow packed roads.


A view up towards the summit.


Along the edge of Hyatt Lake.  The lake was frozen over.  During the summer months, Hyatt Lake is known for its wonderful trout fishing and camping.


A view across the lake.  The ice on the lake was only a few inches thick and covered with snow.  We would not dare walk out onto the lake for it was too risky and dangerous.


Sunset in the forest.  It was eerily quiet.  The only noise that we heard was the snow dropping off the branches of the trees.  There were no birds, squirrels or any signs of wildlife. The birds either migrated south or are spending the winter in the valley below. Other animals such as black bear, skunks and squirrels are hibernating in their dens.  Deer, cougars and elk generally find their way down to the warmer lower elevations during the cold winter months.


A view from the top of the mountain.  You can see the ski resort at Mount Ashland in the background.


Snow covered Chinquapin Mountain. In late spring, when the snow has melted, Chinquapin Mountain is one of my favorite places to hunt for Morel mushrooms.  When I get some mushrooms this year, I’ll be sure to post some delicious Morel mushroom recipes.

After spending a cold day in the snow, my Chicken Lentil Soup is a perfect way to warm up. My Chicken Lentil Soup is made with locally grown organic green Laird Lentils, carrots, onions, celery, chunks of tender chicken and flavored with my homemade Garam Masala Spice Blend.  It’s easy to make, tastes delicious, and as an added bonus, it’s really good for you too!  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1 cup Laird lentils (washed and picked over)
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 Tbs Garam Masala spice blend
  • 1 12 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken (chopped)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan with a lid, saute onion, carrots, celery and red bell pepper in olive oil.  Cook until onions are translucent and tender.  Add lentils, Garam Masala, tomatoes, garlic and chicken stock.  Cook on low heat until lentils are tender, about 30-40 minutes.  Add cooked chicken about 10 minutes before lentils are done.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Serve hot with crusty bread.  Makes about 4 servings.

*Note:  I used precooked chicken that I found in the deli section of my favorite store.  I added the chicken towards the end of the cooking process because I wanted the chicken to stay tender.

Broccoli Bisque


I have not posted any recipes for the past couple of weeks… It’s not that I did not want to or that I was being lazy.  Most of my free time after work has been spent trying to figure out why my website was not cooperating with me.  Most of the time food blogging is an enjoyable and rewarding hobby but it can be extremely frustrating at times.  Maintaining a food/recipe website is a combination of being a food writer, photographer and webmaster.  I am comfortable with the first two items, but the web master part, I’m still learning (struggling). And, in my opinion, I have a long way to go…

My website problem was this…  Every time I tried to post my Broccoli Bisque recipe, the body of the post would not stay formatted properly. I tried everything. I uninstalled and re-installed different components on my website.  I tried even changing the look of my website.  My frustration level with my computer was at all time high.  I was seriously irritated and I was questioning why I even want to be a food blogger in the first place.  In other words, my website was seriously “jacked up”.

Then late last night it dawned on me…  I thought to myself that maybe I’m having software conflicts with web browsers.  I’ve seen that before with software applications at work.  I have certain applications that I work with that don’t run very well in Internet Explorer and perfectly in Firefox.  And vice versa.  Since I only have Firefox on my laptop, I thought I’d download a free copy of Google Chrome.  I installed it and then I tried working on my website while on Google Chrome.  Unbelievable!  Problem solved!  I learned something big.  Next time I am having problems with my website I’m going to check if it is an issue  with a web browser before spending the time dismantling my entire website.

Well, I’m back.  I look forward to being back on schedule and creating some dishes to share.  Meanwhile, be sure to try my easy vegan Broccoli Bisque.  It’s simple to make, good for you and most importantly, it tastes delicious!  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 3/4 pound broccoli florets
  • 1 Tbs canola oil
  • 1 cup onion (chopped)
  • 1 quart vegetable stock
  • 2 cups russet potatoes (peeled and diced)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • salt to taste.

In a large saucepan on medium heat, add broccoli, onions, canola oil and a big pinch of salt.  Cook, stirring constantly until broccoli is crisp tender or onions are translucent.  Add potatoes, vegetable stock, coriander, and white pepper.  Cook covered until potatoes and broccoli are tender.  Grab an immersion blender and blend until creamy.  Add more stock if necessary.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley or chopped onion.  Serves 4.

Cremini Mushroom Soup and Multnomah Falls

Cremini Mushroom Soup

Oregon has quite the reputation for rainy weather, especially in the northern part of the state.  When our major universities name their mascots after aquatic creatures such as the University of Oregon Ducks (Go Ducks!!!), Clark Honors College Platypuses or the Oregon State Beavers that’s your first clue about the climate…  However, there is a bright side to living in a rainy state, we have gorgeous green forests, lovely rivers and world class waterfalls.  And, if you live in Southern Oregon, it’s an even more of a bonus, you have all of the above, yet the climate is warmer and not as rainy as the northern part of the state.

Bruce and I went on a trip a short time back to the City of Portland along the beautiful Columbia River.  When we visit family and friends in the Portland area I always ask Bruce to take me to Multnomah Falls.  Multnomah Falls is located along the Columbia River about 30 miles east of Portland, Oregon.  If you ever get the opportunity to visit Portland, you have to promise me that you will go there.  It’s so beautiful!

Bruce standing at the base of one of the many falls located along the Columbia River.  There was so much watery mist from the falls that I had to stand way back to get a clear picture.  If you take a camera, be sure to bring a lens cloth…

A Brewers Black Bird on a mossy rock.

A large Rainbow Trout and a drake Mallard Duck competing at the bottom of a pond for a food source.

Multnomah Falls…  Four words to describe it.  Absolutely drop dead gorgeous.  After Bruce had to listen to me whine about wanting to visit the falls, the poor man expects to listen to me whine about taking me to the factory outlet stores on the way back outside of Portland.  Every time when we stop at the outlet stores, I smile at him, give him a big peck on the cheek and before the doors are locked on the car, I make a bee line for the Le Creuset outlet store.  I know exactly what I want by the time I hit the front door.  Before he can catch me, my prize is paid for and bagged up.  And in the rare event that he does catch me, the look of anxiety on his face is priceless. I remind him all that time that he bought his ticket :).  He’s lucky that I don’t have quite the fondness for the Coach outlet store (expensive handbags and wallets) as much as Le Creuset.

My Cremini Mushroom Soup was inspired by a bowl of soup that I ordered at a pub on our way back from Multnomah Falls.  It has a wonderful earthy mushroom flavor, a hint of white wine and savory thyme.  It’s easy, it’s creamy delicious, and without a doubt perfect for a cool day.  Enjoy!  Tessa


  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms (cleaned, trimmed, and thinly sliced)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used my favorite pinot gris)
  • 1/2 cup onions (chopped)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

In a medium sized sauce pan add your mushrooms, chicken stock, white wine, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper.  Cover and cook, bring to a low simmer and cook for about 20 more minutes or until the onions are opaque and tender.  Meanwhile, make a blonde roux in another medium sized saucepan with the flour and butter.  In other words, cook the butter and flour on medium low heat until the flour is lightly toasted.  Don’t brown it or let it burn.

In the sauce pan with the mushroom mixture, remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.  Add mushroom mixture to flour and butter mixture stirring constantly to avoid any lumps in the soup.  Use a whisk if you need to.  Cook until thickened and any flour taste is gone.  Add heavy cream, taste and correct your seasonings.  If soup is too thick for your liking, then add some chicken stock to thin.  Ladle in to bowls. Makes about 4 servings.