Cashew Chicken and My First Julia Child Recipe: Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup!

October 21, 2009 · 34 comments

IMG_4400

Megan finally gave me her Cashew Chicken recipe, and you will love it.  It calls for canned cream of mushroom soup, and while I’m not above buying the organic version (to avoid MSG & trans fats), I decided to try my first recipe from my new Julia Child cookbook, and if you have Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume 1, please tell us what is your favorite recipe?  I’m not sure what to try next.  Here’s what I made:

Mastering the ArtPotage Velouté aux Champignons”

or

Fresh creamy mushroom soup!

It was definitely more work than opening a can, but oooooh my, was it ever wonderful, and I don’t even like mushrooms.

Check out some of the nutrient-packed ingredients:

  • Chicken stock full of minerals (I keep it on hand in the freezer) – do you know about the health benefits of homemade stock/bone broth?
  • Cream – raw is best, but at least use the kind that is pasteurized but NOT ultra-pasteurized.
  • Parsley, thyme & bay leaf – we still have parsley and thyme growing on the deck.
  • Eggs – they’re a superfood!
  • Butter – have you read about the 20 Health Benefits of Real Butter?
  • Onions from the farm market, which has only two weeks left, and I’m SO sad that our beautiful and abundant growing season is at an end!
  • IMG_4368Here’s a question for you:  What do you think Julia Child would’ve thought about using canned mushrooms?  It’s all I had!

Megan’s Cashew Chicken

  • 6-8 chicken breasts
  • 4 T. butter
  • IMG_4386Sea salt & Pepper
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, or about 3-4 cups of homemade
  • 1/2 c. dry white wine (Meg recommends chardonnay)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 c. finely crushed up crispy cashews (and more for the top)
  • Paprika
  • Noodles or rice, if desired

IMG_4387 Melt butter in a cast iron pan and brown both sides of the chicken, seasoning with the salt and pepper.  Remove chicken and place into a baking pan.

Add the onions to the frying pan with more butter if needed, and cook until lightly golden – 3-4 minutes.  IMG_4388Stir cream of mushroom soup in, along with the wine, sour cream and cashews.  Let simmer a couple minutes.  Pour sauce over the chicken, and sprinkle paprika over top.

Bake 45 minutes – 1 hour (until chicken is done) at 350*.  Serve over noodles or rice, or eat it plain for a delicious low-ish carb meal.  asian nappa saladAdd a few more whole cashews for presentation or for those who like them.  We had it with this Napa salad.

NOTE:  I just made this again and this time we used my new favorite pan, this 16″ stainless steel electric skillet, I love it!  I first browned the onions in ghee, then added the raw chicken cut into hunks, and fried that until golden on both sides.  I added in the other ingredients as well as a few ladles of chicken stock (and this time just used an organic can of cream of mushroom and cream of chicken soup), and it was really good.  I even took a couple more pictures!

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  • { 32 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Jen October 21, 2009 at 1:58 am

    Mmmm… this sounds really good! I am so making this soon.

    Yay for making your own cream of mushroom soup! I’m going to go ahead and say that I think Julia would shake her head at the canned mushrooms though. :) Hey, at least you improvised with what you had on hand.

    I saute chopped mushrooms in butter, and set aside. Then I make a roux with 2 T butter and 2 T flour, and cook a few minutes. Then I slowly stir in 1 1/2 cups milk (or cream) and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Add in the mushrooms, and season with garlic and onion powder, and salt and pepper. Super easy! It’s enough to equal 2 cans of soup, so I usually freeze half for future use.

    Now you’ve got me curious though. I’m going to have to get my hands on a copy of that cookbook!

    Reply

    2 Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship October 21, 2009 at 2:12 am

    Um, re: Twitter post – the photo is bringing to mind some things I might type as “…” too! Way to go trying something new! ;)

    Reply

    3 Living A Whole Life October 21, 2009 at 5:48 am

    Awesome recipe! I can’t wait to try it!

    Karla

    Reply

    4 Julie October 21, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Do you think that you will be cooking your way through the cookbook?

    Reply

    5 Squeaky Gourmet October 21, 2009 at 7:40 am

    SOUNDS FANTASTIC!

    Reply

    6 KitchenKop October 21, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Julie,
    Ummm, no. (Can’t see myself cooking brains anytime soon!)
    Kelly

    Reply

    7 CHEESESLAVE October 21, 2009 at 8:36 am

    I’m not a big fan of canned mushrooms. They taste funny to me. I usually use dried mushrooms if I can’t find fresh. I’m surprised you can’t find fresh mushrooms though — they usually have them at the grocery store.

    But if the soup tasted great, why not?

    There are lots of wonderful recipes in Julia’s first book. Lots of good organ meat recipes for kidney and liver and sweetbreads and brains. I haven’t tried making most of them yet but that’s one cookbook I keep right on my counter (along with “Nourishing Traditions”).

    Reply

    8 CHEESESLAVE October 21, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Ha! Kelly you also said you’d NEVER eat sushi.

    Reply

    9 CHEESESLAVE October 21, 2009 at 8:37 am

    PS: I’m glad you didn’t substitute beer for the wine. ;-)

    Reply

    10 Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free October 21, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I love when a new recipe comes out well. I haven’t picked up her book – I’ve thought about it several times but I’m up to my eyeballs with other cooking projects and I’m going to wait until things calm down.

    Since you used canned mushrooms, I will admit that I use canned tomatoes to make tomato soup at times and it is incredible. There are lots of other great ingredients – garlic, chicken stock, basil or dill. Sometimes in the winter or if there is tons of rain the tomato crop is awful and, other times I just don’t have the time to go to the store and buy tomatoes. It works in a pinch. And no one can ever believe that the tomatoes were canned.

    Reply

    11 KitchenKop October 21, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Ann Marie, hey, that’s a great idea, I’ll try Guinness next time! :) And our store does have fresh mushrooms, but if I run to the store for one thing then I leave having spent at least $100, so the less I’m there, the better.

    Amy, I used canned (organic) tomatoes sometimes too, but the BPA issue has me in a tizzy lately, which I’ll post on soon.

    Reply

    12 Millie October 21, 2009 at 10:58 am

    Guinness. Funny.
    I love how you took what is a comfort food and made it so nourishing.

    Reply

    13 Michelle October 21, 2009 at 11:19 am

    I make my own cream soups too. This is the base recipe I use

    http://articles.urbanhomemaker.com/index.php?article=896

    I make them all with homemade bone broth for extra yummy and nutrition. Just made one last night for our chicken broccoli bake which uses leftover chicken from our Sunday roasted organic free-range chicken dinner!

    Reply

    14 Sabrina Thorn October 21, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I have made both the Chicken Chasseur and Beef Bourguignon. Both delicious. Her recipes I find are a little overwhelming. But if you read through them a few times before cooking they aren’t as hard as they look. Has anyone found this to be true? I could just be a dunce when it comes to cooking. :~)

    Reply

    15 Alyss October 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    I also think Julia would shake her head at the canned mushrooms, but she would be proud of you for making a meal in your own kitchen. And what a meal it is! Yum.

    I saw a recipe recently for home made cream of whatever that called for milk and chicken broth to be scalded and then a flour paste added it it. With that recipe and this I think there may be some kind of creamy casserole in my near future.

    Reply

    16 KitchenKop October 21, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Sabrina, I’m glad you gave me the tip about reading through the recipes a few times before trying it, because some of them (most of them) DO look daunting! But part of it is probably because she’s so good about giving all the details people like me need.

    Reply

    17 KitchenKop October 21, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    Sabrina, do you have Volume 1? Because I can’t find those recipes in my volume 1, can you give me the page numbers? Thanks!

    Reply

    18 Sabrina Thorn October 21, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Hi Kelly,
    Love your site. I’m assuming it’s Volume 1 because I think Volume 2 is the one with the bread and desserts, right?

    Beef Bourguignonne page 315
    Chicken Chasseur page 256, which refers you to page 368 where she gives the recipe for escalopes de veau chasseur,
    then page 75 chasseur sauce.

    Here roasted chicken is pretty good also. I like mine better but hers is good. page 240

    Her glazed carrots page 479 are incredible also. I never knew you were suppose to simmer carrots in broth first. It really makes a difference.

    Reply

    19 KitchenKop October 21, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Sabrina,

    THANKS! I found them, and I think I could do those recipes! Thanks for looking that up for me. :)

    So tell me, how do you do your roasted chicken differently?

    I want to try the carrots, hoping my family will like them. I tried another recipe once and I was the only one who ate them.

    Reply

    20 Sabrina Thorn October 21, 2009 at 11:23 pm

    Roast Chicken with Garlic Rub (Pollo Asado)
    (the skin on this chicken will be very brown and crispy and the meat will be very moist.)
    Makes 4 servings
    One 5-pound chicken, washed and patted dry inside and out
    Wet Rub for Meats and Poultry

    Preheat the oven to 500

    Reply

    21 KitchenKop October 21, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    Oh myyyyyyy, that sounds goooood.

    Somehow I have to get that recipe over to my how-to-bake-a-whole-chicken post, can I post it there?

    Oh, and do you bake this or use an actual roaster?

    Thanks!
    Kelly

    Reply

    22 Sabrina Thorn October 21, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    I use the roasting pan. Now I guess I should say this is not my recipe. I got it off the internet, from Daisy Cooks. Used to watch her show when she was on the Create channel. Love her. She’s Puerto Rican as I am and found she made all my childhood favorite recipes. My father was the cook in our house and I was not interested while he was alive. :~( But so glad to have someone show me how to make all the same things he did. She is a great cook.
    So you decide if its OK to put it on your how to roast a chicken page. Its OK with me. And her recipes are all over the internet.

    Reply

    23 Tara October 22, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Have you ever tried freezing mushrooms? We buy a big container at Costco of Baby Bellas, wash them, slice them, and freeze them. They’re great for cooking but they turn brown so you wouldn’t want to eat them raw with dip. I find dried mushrooms too chewy and these taste better than canned mushrooms.
    I asked for a Julia Child cookbook for Christmas…along with a 25th hour to every day :)

    Reply

    24 angie October 22, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    quite delicious good for you and looks like you picked a great first one

    Reply

    25 MommyAmy October 22, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Stopping by from TILT!

    Great recipe! I’m thinkin’ Julia probably would have poo poo’d your canned mushrooms, but I have no problems with it! :)

    Reply

    26 KitchenKop October 22, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Tara, LOVE that idea, thanks for the tip!

    Reply

    27 Deborah October 23, 2009 at 1:08 am

    I’m a big fan of raw milk. It’s why I have my own goats and cows. But if don’t have your own fresh supply of milk, and you’re making soup, it doesn’t really matter whether you start with raw or pasteurized milk, because once the temp hits 170, it’s pasteurized. If it sits at 145 for 30 minutes, it’s pasteurized too. I mention this mostly for people who are on a budget, as I know raw milk is more expensive than pasteurized.

    I’m not a fan of canned mushrooms either. They have an odd taste and texture — kind of rubbery. If you liked it with canned, you’ll love it with fresh!

    Reply

    28 Kara @ Home With Purpose October 23, 2009 at 1:43 am

    This sounds DELICIOUS!! Definitely trying this one!

    Reply

    29 KitchenKop October 23, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Deborah, good point, thanks for catching that! :)

    Reply

    30 The Diaper Diaries October 24, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    That chicken looks amazing. Too bad the hubby has a nut allergy. And I agree, canned cream of whatever soup kind of freaks me out!

    Reply

    31 Jennifer October 25, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Kelly-I’ve been reading your posts for a few weeks now but have never posted anything, but after reading this, I just had to comment. I actually just did this same thing myself-I had a recipe for “poppyseed chicken” which is basically the same dish as the cashew chicken-you combine cooked chicken with cream of “whatever” soup and sour cream but then instead of cashews you top it with crushed ritz crackers and poppyseeds. I’ve always loved the recipe but don’t make it often, as I’ve also never felt great about the canned soup and crackers. So, I found a recipe for a homemade cream of mushroom soup base (which was actually very similar to the one you used), and added the chicken and sour cream. Then, instead of the crackers I used some high-quality wheat bread and cold butter (in the food processor) to make fresh bread crumbs which I combined with poppyseeds for the topping. It was DELICIOUS! And, I was so proud of myself for how great it came out and how much healthier it was! I was just laughing when I read your post, though, because I literally just did this a couple weeks ago!!

    Reply

    32 KitchenKop October 25, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Jennifer, that sounds SO good, and I love new ways to use chicken! Thanks for finally commenting to share that recipe, and now that you know how easy it is, you can jump in more often! :)

    Reply

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