Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Dear Eden and Claire, 

Way back in the 70's when I was a teen, one of the favorite winter hangouts of Highland High Schoolers was Marie Calenders on Foothill Blvd. in Salt Lake City. Mind you, this was in the day of limited food choices and there weren't many restaurants in the neighborhood that teenagers could afford.  But Marie's; it had a fireplace, menu items under $4.00, and tolerated large groups of obnoxious teenagers. Plus, it was close to school so we could ditch a class and get back in time for the next one. Besides pie, there were five things on the menu I loved — the Frisco Burger (when I had money to spend), French toast with boysenberry syrup, corn bread with honey butter, and cream of chicken soup. Marie’s is gone now which breaks my heart. I would love to meet up with old friends and sit in "our booth." This is my homage to my favorite menu item and carefree days of cutting classes.

1 large onion chopped fine
3 stalks celery diced small
2 potatoes peeled and diced small
1 carrot, peeled and diced small
1 32 oz. Kitchen Basics Chicken stock
1 tablespoon Better Than Bullion (use 2 bullion cubes if you can't find this).
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/3 cup)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 quart 1/2 and 1/2
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch nutmeg
3 cups cubed chicken
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup peas

Coat stock pot with the olive oil and place over medium heat.
Add the onions and celery and saut√©  until translucent.
Add the potatoes and carrots, chicken stock, chicken bullion, spices and lemon and bring to a low simmer. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender.

While the vegetables are simmering, create a roux in a separate sauce pan by melting butter over medium heat and whisking in flour.  Cook over low heat until the flour mixture is light tan.
Add the half and half to the flour mixture and whisk over medium high heat until thickened like a sauce.  Add the sugar, salt and nutmeg. 
Add this thickened sauce to the simmering vegetables and stock, once the vegetables are tender and stir to combine.

Add the chicken, corn and peas.
Cover the pot with a lid and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
Adjust seasonings to your liking.

To serve, top with broken up pieces of pie crust or oyster crackers.

Notes:  This best if made a day ahead to allow flavors to blend.  If the soup is too thick, thin with milk or more chicken stock.  I had about 1 cup at a time until it's at the desired consistency.
If you want to top with broken pie crust bits, purchase pie crust dough and bake for 12 minutes, then break into bits.

This makes about 10-12 servings which makes it great for a pot luck.  It's a favorite of co-workers.  Keep warm in a crock pot.

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