The By the Spoonful Soup Shop in Snowflake, Vermont is the center of the action in my new soup shop series, starting with A Spoonful of Murder released just this month. Needless to say a lot of the activity at the Spoonful revolves around SOUP, and at the back of each book are recipes for readers. Since only a few recipes can be included in the printed book or ebook, my dilemma was which ones to choose. What’s the best way to decide? My favorites? My standby recipes? Or ones that match the seasons?
A Spoonful of Murder takes place in the deadest part of winter, after the holidays, in the dark days before the first hope of spring. Because of the season, I thought the heartiest soups should be given pride of place. So for this first book, I chose recipes for a Creamy Potato Yam soup, Wild Mushroom, and a Tomato Spinach Pasta.
But then I heard from Karen Schumann. She had read A Spoonful of Murder and wrote to let me know she had really enjoyed the book, but was terribly disappointed when she discovered the recipe for the Chicken Artichoke Tarragon soup with white wine had not been included. Could she have the recipe? But of course. No problem. It’s been a while, more than nine months since I finished A Spoonful of Murder. I explained that to Karen and promised to send her my recipe.
Fortunately, I had made sure I kept a running list as I wrote of all the soups referenced in this first book, along with the recipes. By the time I finished writing, I realized I had talked about no fewer than eleven different types of soups created by Sage DuBois, the very talented chef at the By the Spoonful Soup Shop.
So, I began my search. I checked the lists on my computer, my written notes, my recipe books, and anything else I could get my hands on to find that recipe again. I knew I had made that soup. The ingredients are some of my favorites. But where was the recipe? I searched everywhere. No luck. However, I did remember all the ingredients. But just to be on the safe side, and also fearing that Karen would never forgive me if I didn’t give her a decent recipe, I zipped over to my local supermarket, picked up any missing ingredients and went to work. The result was delicious. I loved it. And I ate the entire pot – not in one day of course.
So, thanks to Karen Schumann, here is my recipe for
Chicken Artichoke Tarragon Soup
2 tbls. of butter
2 heaping tbls. of dried tarragon (or fresh tarragon if you can obtain it.)
½ cup of dry white wine
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
4 cups of chicken broth or chicken stock
10-12 ozs. of artichoke hearts or quarters (packed in water)
½ cup of uncooked pearl barley (I happen to love barley, but ½ cup of rice can be substituted if preferred.)
Finely chop the shallot into small pieces and cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized cubes. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the shallot and tarragon (dried or fresh) and sauté for a few minutes. Add the chicken pieces to the pot and sauté a few more minutes, just enough to allow the chicken to pick up the flavor of the spices. Pour the wine into the mixture and heat for another minute. Then add the chicken broth or stock to the pot, cover and let simmer on low heat for approximately fifteen minutes, just until the chicken pieces are thoroughly cooked.
Scoop the chicken out of the pot and set aside.
Add the artichoke hearts and pearl barley to the broth, and cook for another fifteen minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and let the ingredients sit for half an hour until the barley has absorbed the liquid and expanded. Test this by scooping out a little bit of barley to make sure it’s soft.
Once the pot has cooled, pureé the artichoke hearts and barley with the broth. Add the chicken pieces back into the pot, heat and serve. Garnish with fresh tarragon if you like.
This one’s for you, Karen! Bon appetit!