Sauteed Mushrooms & Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Today’s delicious dish – Sauteed Mushrooms  

Mushrooms seem to be one of those foods people either love or hate.  I love them, and cook them often.  Although they are wonderful in a variety of preparations, none of those beats a simple sauteed mushroom.  Sauteed mushrooms soak up the butter and oil they cook in, and develop a silky texture and a tantalizing umami flavor.  I could eat a skillet full of them.

In addition to being gastronomically pleasing, mushrooms are nutritionally pleasing; they contribute minerals (especially selenium) and B vitamins.  They are also low in calories and fat free – that is, until they are sauteed in oil and butter!

This recipe calls for white mushrooms, but you should feel free to use any fresh mushroom you like.  If your mushrooms are particularly dirty, you can rinse them with water – they may absorb some moisture, but this won’t matter because the mushrooms are cooked until the liquid evaporates.

If you don’t have Herbes de Provence, you can leave it out or do a light sprinkle of several of your favorite herbs.  I love the complex flavor imparted by the Herbes de Provence spice blend – mine has thyme, basil, garlic, onion, bay leaf, salt, oregano, rosemary, lavender, and black pepper.  But it can be hard to find in grocery stores, it might be too expensive, and you might not have space for a seldom-used spice (I mostly use it in sauteed mushrooms and in scrambled eggs).

Sauteed Mushrooms

  • 24 ounces white mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Herbes de Provence seasoning blend

To clean mushrooms, wipe off any visible dirt with a damp paper towel.  Trim a thin slice off the bottom of stems and discard this little piece.  Slice mushrooms about 1/4” thick.  Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet on high heat.  When butter has melted and has begun to sizzle, add mushrooms and toss to coat.  Cook mushrooms on high, stirring often, until they release their liquid.  Add pepper, salt, and Herbes de Provence and mix well.  Continue to cook, stirring often, until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are nicely browned.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups sauteed mushrooms, or 5 servings (each about 1/2 cup)

Nutritional information (per serving):  120 calories, 10 grams fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 3 grams protein, 4 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams sugars, 1 gram fiber, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium

 Cost per serving:   $1.15

 Preparation time: 40 minutes

What happens next?

Sauteed mushrooms keep and reheat well and are easy to put together with a variety of foods.  You can save them in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and you can freeze them.  When thawed, the texture may be slightly changed, but they will still be good.

I might use leftover sauteed mushrooms in any number of soups, stews, and casseroles, or even on a pizza.  My family especially likes them in next recipe.  I’m glad to save 2 servings of the mushrooms for this yummy soup.

Another day’s delicious dish – Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Here’s a recipe for a creamy and hearty soup that is fancy enough to serve on special occasions.  The wild rice needs to be precooked before going into the soup, because it takes a very long time to become soft enough to be pleasant to eat.  If the rest of the ingredients were cooked together for that long, it might make a mushy mess.

Wild rice is nutritious and has an interesting flavor, but it can be expensive and difficult to find in grocery stores.  If you don’t have wild rice and don’t want to buy it, you can substitute brown or white rice.  It will need to be cooked separately to start, for about half of the normal cooking time.  If you need to make this a gluten-free dish, that is easily accomplished – just be sure to get gluten-free chicken broth (or make your own) and omit the Worcestershire sauce.

If you don’t want to use white wine in this soup, just substitute an equal amount of chicken broth.  The wine imparts a nice background flavor, though, so I encourage you to try it.  There’s no need to worry about your family getting tipsy – the long cooking will evaporate the alcohol.

This recipe suggests starter-sized servings of the soup (1 1/3 cup).  If it is meant to be the main dish, you probably want to offer larger servings – maybe 2 cups – and you might want to add salad and/or bread to the meal.

If you don’t have 2 servings of Sauteed Mushrooms saved, you can still make this recipe.  Just clean and thinly slice 8 ounces of mushrooms, give them a good saute in a Tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and you are ready to proceed with the recipe.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 8 cups chicken broth (64 fluid ounces)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ribs celery, cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and trimmed
  • 3/4 cup white wine
  • 2 servings Sauteed Mushrooms (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 12 ounce can evaporated fat-free milk

Combine wild rice with 2 cups chicken broth (reserve remaining chicken broth for later) in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Some grains should be turning inside-out, with white showing, and most of the liquid should be absorbed.

While wild rice cooks, dice chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in large pot.  Add chicken and sprinkle on salt, celery salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken chunks are lightly browned.  Remove chicken from pot, and set aside.  You should have about 2 cups of cooked chicken.

Heat remaining 2 Tablespoons olive in pot.  Slice celery thinly (you should have about 1 cup of sliced celery) and add to pot.  Dice carrots into small cubes (you should have about 1 cup of diced carrots) and add to pot.  Cook, covered, on medium heat until vegetables are beginning to brown.  There will be a brown stuck-on mass at the bottom of the pot.  Add white wine and cook for a few minutes, stirring and scraping up from the bottom of the pot.  The browned bits should dissolve.  Add cooked chicken, Sauteed Mushrooms, Worcestershire Sauce, parsley flakes, and remaining 6 cups of chicken broth.

Bring soup to a boil.  Add wild rice and any remaining cooking liquid to the pot.  Simmer soup, covered, for 1 hour.

Stir evaporated fat free milk into cornstarch, continuing to stir until completely smooth.  Add mixture to simmering soup while stirring constantly.  Continue to cook soup another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Taste soup for seasoning level, and correct, if necessary.

Makes about 9 1/2 cups soup, or 7 servings (each about 1 1/3 cups)

Nutritional information (per serving):  325 calories, 11.5 grams fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 25 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate, 10 grams sugars, 3 grams fiber, 41 milligrams cholesterol, 971 milligrams sodium

 Cost per serving:   $2.30

 Preparation time:  3 hours

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