"Soup. The culinary artist's canvas of creativity. The culmination of cruising the cupboards and refrigerator for inspirational ingredients and ingenuity. Remember, an artist can only paint the same picture once."
That's the excuse I gave my daughter when I told her that we were going to have her favorite, milk noodle soup, when she came for dinner last night and I'd changed up the recipe from what she was used to. (Quick thinking on my part, eh?)
Milk noodle soup was a comfort food for me when I was growing up and I must have passed on that comfort gene to her because it remains her favorite soup. My mother fed eleven of us on a concoction of her homemade noodles, home-grown potatoes, homemade chicken stock and a touch of heavy cream. Pennies per serving, I'm sure, but delicious nonetheless. Through the years, I've reinvented it too many times to count. The following is just another adaptation of my mother's milk noodle soup recipe (as seen through the eyes of a self-proclaimed culinary artist. When I go on tour, I'll autograph your soup bowl.)
Creamy Noodle, Potato and Mushroom Soup (for lack of better description)
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP butter
1 leek, white and light green parts only, cleaned well and diced
2 stalks of celery, leaves included, diced
kosher salt and pepper
dash of crushed red pepper flakes
6 ounces white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dry white wine (optional)
2 quarts chicken stock
2 medium-large potatoes, peeled, small cubed
8 ounces egg noodles
1 cup half & half
In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and butter over medium-medium high heat. Add leeks and celery. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute until leeks and celery have softened, 6-7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and thyme and saute until mushrooms have given up their moisture, 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Sprinkle the flour over all and cook for 2 minutes, stirring to prevent the flour from burning. Add the wine and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add potatoes and noodles. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes and noodles are tender. Remove from heat and stir in the half & half.
*The Other Side of 50 will be on vacation (yes again) until sometime next week. You see, hubby has decided to repeat his faux pas of last year and invited 16 of his "closest" friends to stay at our home for the Buckeyes/Illinois game this weekend. I'm leaving town to avoid the chaos and the possibility that this time I might injure him in some way for doing this to me AGAIN.