Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fresh Chicken Soup with Wild Rice

Aaaah, what's more comforting that a nice, hot bowl of chicken soup?  There are endless variations on the dish: noodles or rice, herbed or curried, chicken and dumplings, and pretty much anything else you can think of.  What is especially wonderful is that if you roasted your own chicken, (like this), stored the leftovers, and made stock, most of the work is already done!  Here I use wild rice, mushrooms, and arugula to add the slightest fresh twist on a classic.

  • Combine your chicken stock (you can use store bought if you didn't make your own), chicken pieces (I like to use mostly white meat since moisture is provided by the broth), a large chopped onion, salt, pepper, a couple bay leaves, and any herbs that strike your fancy.  Bring to a boil.
  • Add your wild rice.  Keep in mind the volume of cooked rice versus the volume of liquid you have.  Also taste your stock at this time.  If it seems too concentrated, add some water.  Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  • The rice will still have some bite to it at this point.  Add your chopped celery and carrots.  Simmer another 10 minutes.
  • Add your chopped mushrooms (pretty much any kind you like).  Simmer another 10-15 minutes.
  • Now everything should be getting nice and tender.  Test a carrot, some rice, and a mushroom.  If you like your soup veggies on the softer side, continue to let it simmer until it's how you like it.  Otherwise, stir in your arugula and serve!  The arugula can also be added to individual bowls: it will cook in the hot broth as you eat it.
  • Note that soup with rice doesn't always keep that well: the rice continues to absorb the liquid.  Some people separate it before storing, or cook their rice separately (which makes for a lesser flavor).  I usually try to make a smaller amount (a nice bonus of making your stock ahead of time is taking out just as much as you need), and deal with a slightly mushier soup the next day.
- Rori

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