Saturday, June 28, 2008

the tale of book club

Last night after we got home from the trip, I hosted book club at my house. Chris took the children to a Tides baseball game, so I had a little time to make some fun food. We read "The Tale of Despereaux", by Kate DiCamillo. This is a wonderful children's book with themes for all ages. The story is about a mouse named Despereaux. He is an unlikely hero who goes on a quest to save the princess. The princess's mother, the Queen, loved soup. Her favorite was Chicken, Garlic and Watercress Soup. I thought that would be fun to make. Getting home as late as I did from the trip, I was unable to locate watercress, but decided Chicken, Garlic and Spinach would be an acceptable substitution. Here's the recipe:

Chicken, Garlic and Spinach Soup
2 small chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/3 cup Italian dressing

3 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 garlic cloves, peeled, sliced
2 medium white or gold potatoes, peeled, quartered, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
6 cups chicken broth, divided
2 TBSP. flour
5 oz. baby spinach, chopped
salt/freshly ground pepper

Combine chicken breast strips and dressing in ziploc bag, marinate for 30 min. to 1 hour. Drain and discard marinade. Thread strips onto skewers and grill or broil till just done. Don't overcook. Remove from heat. Cool. Dice.
In large saucepan, heat butter and oil. When butter has melted, add onions and cook over medium heat until almost translucent. Add garlic and cook for a couple more minutes. DO NOT let this burn! Add potatoes and thyme. Cook for another couple minutes, stirring to coat. Pour 5 cups of the broth into the soup, reserving the other cup of broth until later. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and allow it to cook until the potatoes are just tender. Add spinach and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Combine the remaining cup of broth with the flour and whisk till smooth. Slowly pour into the soup. Stir till smooth. Add the chicken and heat through. Salt and pepper to taste.

I made these cute little mice out of dried apricots dipped in melted chocolate. The eyes are mini M&M's. The ears are almonds. Despereaux had his tail chopped off, so these mice have a tiny tail made from a chocolate chip! I also served celery sticks and spinach dip. This was for the Threadmaster, who always smelled of celery. Confused? Read the book :)


Butler Family said...

That is such a neat idea!! And that soup looks AWESOME!!! I might have to try that one time. Did you just make ti up or did you have a recipe for it?

The Martinez Family said...

yummy:) If you had a few more ingredients it would almost be Touscana soup:) I will try this in my kitchen for sure , thanks for the reciepe and I am glad things went well and you are back safely:)

The Barton Family said...

Sounds good, I'll have to give that recipe a try- I know yours are always the best!!

Harley said...

That soup was awesome :)