This Curried Chicken Soup with Asparagus and Mushrooms is comforting and delicious any time, but really shines in the late spring and summer when asparagus is at its peak.
As I write, it is pouring rain outside on our last day at the beach. It is not as disappointing as you might think–this trip has been a little bittersweet for my kids and me, as with every day that passes we are that much closer to officially needing to pack up our home. So in some weird way, the weather matches our moods, and our energy level for sunscreen, sand, sun and waves has decreased as we get closer to the end. And yes I apologize for my extended silence–2 weeks at the beach combined with the move left me bereft in the recipe department.
When I found myself reaching for the laptop to edit these photos and start writing, I also felt like maybe it was time to get home and get started organizing. Time to stop avoiding and time to get some oomph.
Speaking of the rain, this soup is the perfect rainy and cool spring or summer day dinner. I strongly prefer asparagus in season, and the soup, while hearty, is not particularly heavy or overly filling. Which makes it comforting on days like today. When vacation is ending, the sky is dreary and wet, and the real world is about to intrude. Ladle up a big bowl of this Curried Chicken Soup, and you will feel better!
- 1 T vegetable oil
- 1 T curry powder
- 1 head of cauliflower broken into small florets
- 3 T ghee
- 2-3 lbs boneless chicken parts
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 1-2 T white wine vinegar
- 1 T ginger paste
- 1 T heaping minced garlic
- 1 lb sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 T curry powder (I used Penzey’s sweet curry powder)
- 1/2 cup water
- 10 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup farro
- 1 cup Basmati rice (or any long grain)
- 2 bunches asparagus, chopped into small bite sized pieces
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 t garam masala
- 1 T white wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Whisk together the oil and curry powder. Toss the cauliflower florets with the curry oil and spread out on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Let the cauliflower roast while you are preparing the soup--you want to roast it until it is fragrant and browning in spots, about 20 minutes for me, but it will depend on your floret size. Remove from the oven when it is done and set aside.
Heat the ghee in a large, heavy Dutch oven. While it is heating, pat the chicken pieces dry and sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
When the ghee is hot, add the chicken pieces and brown them. You may need to do this in batches so that the chicken browns and does not steam. When the chicken is browned, remove it to a bowl and add the onions to the pot with a pinch of salt.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar to the onions and scrape up any stuck bits of chicken. Continue to caramelize the onions, stirring occasionally, until well browned.
Add the ginger and garlic. Stir it into the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and cook until much of their water has evaporated, stirring occasionally.
Add the curry powder and stir into the onions. Cook for 30-60 seconds, and then add the 1/2 cup of water. Scrape up any stuck bits.
Add the chicken stock and the farro. Bring to a boil, and then cover and reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.
While the farro is cooking, chop the chicken into bite sized pieces.
After the 10 minutes is up, add the chicken pieces and rice to the soup. Bring to a boil and again cover and reduce heat to simmer. Let it simmer for 7-8 minutes.
Add the asparagus and return to a boil. When the asparagus is bright green and crisp-tender, check the farro and rice to make sure they are tender as well. When everything is cooked to doneness, add the cauliflower to the soup. Whisk some soup into the sour cream by the tablespoon until the sour cream is quite warm. Turn the heat off of the soup, and stir the sour cream into the soup. Stir in the garam masala and white wine vinegar. Taste the broth for salt or more vinegar.
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