Thursday, September 23, 2010

Chicken Soup with Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables

Homemade Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Just finished the last of my homemade chicken soup.  It was so good!  This recipe would go great with the cheddar biscuits I posted last week.  Yum!  Good, old-fashioned comfort food tastes good anytime but especially as the weather turns colder.  Now that may take awhile here in Texas, but for some of you (you know who you are and you know that I envy you very much), cool days are already creeping up on you.  So, light that fire (or crank down that air conditioning) and enjoy some yummy soup.

Chopped onions, carrots, celery, mushrooms and squash ready for roasting.

I think part of what makes this recipe so delicious is the flavor that comes from roasting the veggies.  Although you can always just throw them in the pot and let them simmer in the broth, I encourage you to take this extra step.  You can eliminate or add vegetables according to taste.  I used up some of my summer squash and it tasted great in the soup.  Consider some winter vegetables as the seasons change.  After our lesson on butternut squash last week, we all should be comfortable hacking into one and using it in place of the summer squash.  Or maybe parsnips or fennel?   The flavor and even the color of the soup changes slightly with each additional vegetable, which can be a wonderful thing.  You can enjoy complex layers of flavor, so  be creative. 

One last thing.  Many times I take recipes and change them, adding or taking away to make it my own.  I encourage you to try the same.  For example, the recipe I found called for plain wild rice.  I chose a flavored option of Near East brand rice.  I knew the flavor of the rice would mix well with the spices in the soup.  You can choose either way.

Chicken Soup with Wild Rice and Roasted Vegetables

1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained (or box of flavored wild rice)
2 cups water
1 medium onion
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 red sweet pepper, diced
1 small package of mushrooms, chopped
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 medium summer squash, diced (or try a winter vegetable substitute)
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 cups chicken stock (homemade or good store-bought organic)
2-2 1/2 lbs. meaty chicken pieces (breast halves or thighs)
1 can whole peeled tomatoes, chopped (I like Contadina)
2 tsp fresh thyme
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
3-4 shakes of Tabasco  sauce, optional

STEP 1:  In a medium saucepan, combine the wild rice and water.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 35-40 minutes or until rice is tender.  Drain and set aside.  Remember, you can substitute with a box of flavored wild rice.  Just follow directions on the package.

STEP 2: Combine all the chopped vegetable on a large roasting pan.  Add the chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss with your hands to coat.  Roast, uncovered in a 425 degree F oven for 30 minutes or until vegetables are browned and just tender.  Remove from oven and let cool.

STEP 3: In a large pot, combine chicken stock and chicken pieces.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat.  Simmer, covered for 25-20 minutes or until chicken is tender. 

Steps 1, 2 and 3 can be cooking simultaneously to save time!

Remove chicken from stock and when it is cool enough to handle remove meat from the bones.  Discard skin and bones, and make sure meat is shredded or chopped into bite-size pieces.  Return meat to the stock,  Add the roasted vegetables, wild rice, tomatoes thyme and parsley.  Give a few shakes of Tabasco sauce for heat and flavor.  Season with additional salt to taste.  Simmer for 10 minutes and serve.

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