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Thyme and Lime Chicken Soup

You are walking along enjoying the crisp fall breeze, when you suddenly have an urge for a bowl of hot chicken soup. You run by the store and into the soup aisle, only to discover that all their offerings include noodles, rice, tons of salt, preservatives and fillers. Where, oh where, is the veggie and chicken filled bowl of goodness you were craving? And what about that extra twist you want to be surprised with as the first spoonful slides down your throat? Well, here are all the things you’re looking for! The surprise is how wonderfully the beer mixes with the lime juice and thyme to give the soup a nip not usually found in chicken soup. Don’t worry. After hours of exposure to heat the alcohol cooks away, but the more subtle flavors of the beer stays in the soup. Little B inhaled two bowls in one sitting. Enjoy!

Thyme and Lime Chicken Soup

½ pound thick sliced mushrooms
3 Tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 limes, juiced with meat included
2 pounds cooked chicken, chopped or shredded
2 cups miniature carrots, chopped into coins
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 medium Onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 small or roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 cup water
12 ounces beer (pick a strong flavored one – pale ale or IPA – goes well with the lime)
Salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl combine the juice and pulp from one lime, olive oil, thyme and salt. Add the mushrooms and toss until coated. On a medium cookie sheet spread out the mushrooms slices flat with a little space between each. Drizzle any sauce over the mushrooms. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they begin to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool. In crock pot add water and remaining lime juice with pulp, then turn pot to high. Add chicken, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and tomatoes. Stir and let soup heat up, about an hour. When the soup is hot add mushrooms (along with any juices left on the baking sheet) and the beer to the soup. Continue to cook on high for three more hours. Turn temperature to low and cook for 3 – 4 more hours. All the ingredients can be added to the crock pot at the same time and cooked on low for 8 – 10 hours, but the results are tangier if the vegetables are allowed to heat up in the water/lime liquid before adding the beer. Either method bears good results. If using the stove top, bring the soup to a boil before adding the mushrooms and beer, then simmer on low for 5 or 6 hours. Season with salt to taste before serving.

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