Friday, January 25, 2013

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

 I have been under the weather recently, the plague that has been going around caught up with me and knocked me out for about a week.  Not feeling well always makes me want chicken and rice soup, but I'm not talking about the can of condensed soup my dad used to make by adding a can of water to the soup and warming it in a saucepan on the stove.  I'm talking about chicken soup, made from. . . a chicken.
 My mother in law saved my carbohydrate variety single handed.  When I first started cooking for John, he said he did not like rice.  It was so disappointing for me because I am such a fan of rice.  It changes things up from potatoes and pasta and who doesn't like variety.  Anyway, the first Christmas I spent at my in-laws, my mother-in-law gave me a wild rice mix from a local place in Minnesota.  It sat in the back of my cabinet for a few months.  I was waiting for an opportunity to cook just for me.  Eventually there came a day when I had not been shopping and it came down to what we had in the cupboard.  I pulled out the wild rice mix and made it, told John to just deal with it.  Turns out, he just didn't like boring old white rice.  I learned my lesson, when John says he doesn't like something, I just go more complex (and expensive) and he usually comes around.  Anyway, my mother-in-law sent me a bag of wild rice from Hand Harvested Wild Rice Company for Christmas.  That is what I used in this soup.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

for the broth:
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
5 cloves garlic, cut in half
1 chicken (under 5 pounds)
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
10 peppercorns
 about 6 cups of water

for the soup:
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig fresh rosemary, minced
salt and pepper
1 cup wild rice

To make the broth, brown the onion, carrots, and celery in a large pot with about a tablespoon of olive oil.  The more color you get on the vegetables, the more veggie flavor your stock will have.  Put the water on to boil in a separate pot.  I fill up my tea kettle and put it on to boil.  When you have some color on the veggies, add the garlic and keep cooking until you can smell the garlic fragrance.  Rinse your chicken and place it on the bed of veggies in the pot.  Cover with boiling water, add bay leaves, and peppercorns.  Simmer between 2 and 4 hours.  The longer you simmer, the tenderer the meat.  In the last hour, add the rosemary.  Place a fine colander over a big bowl and strain the broth. 
To make the soup, rinse out your pot and put it back on the stove on medium heat.  Put in your carrots and onions to brown.  While they cook, start to pull your chicken off the bone.  When the vegetables get some color on them, add the garlic and rosemary. 
 Add the chicken meat, but none of the vegetables from the stock, the bones and the vegetables can be discarded at this point.
 All the chicken should fall off the bone, leaving clean bones.
Pour the stock back into the pot, add the rice and bring it to a boil.  Turn it down and let simmer about 45 minutes, seasoning generously with salt and pepper in the last 20 minutes.  I served this with fresh baked french bread.  It might take a long time, but it is so worth it!

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