Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hearty Chicken Rice Soup

It is cold outside, the winter not making any plans to leave, and Punxsutawney Phil couldn't agreed more. Spring break is a month away, and who knows how long until spring. Sigh. To keep warm, I made another "chicken noodle soup", which basically consists for me of some fresh chicken on the bone (like drumsticks) for the extra flavor that the bone adds to the broth,  many different vegetables, fresh or frozen, and often pasta, but this time I used long grained, enriched rice (got a new rice cooker!), all simmering for about a half hour in just plain water. The result is lovely flavorful and natural. This time, the combination was inspired: I added dried porcini mushroom, fresh baby spinach and a cube of frozen basil to the soup. The porcini mushroom add a wonderful rich, earthy flavor, the baby spinach a great texture, and the basil a flavorful aroma. I am sure I will make this often. Hope, you like it, too!

3-4 cups water
2 fresh large chicken drumsticks, skin cut off
1/2 bag of frozen broccoli and cauliflower mix
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/2 cup frozen, cubed butternut squash (or fresh)
1 fresh carrot, peeled and diced
2-3 fresh scallions, cut on diagonal
a handful dried porcini mushroom
handful fresh shitake mushroom (optional)
1 fresh bay leaf
1 cube frozen basil (or handful fresh basil, cut in stripes)
1 garlic clove, whole

2 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
a few cherry tomatoes, halved, or a large tomato, cut in chunks
1 cup pre-cooked long-grained rice

1/2 ts chicken boullion (I like Maggi pollo boullion)
fresh ground black pepper, some Mrs Dash garlic and herbs

Fill a pot with the cold water, and start heating it. Add chicken drum sticks, the frozen vegetables and the other ingredients (but not the spinach, tomatoes and rice yet, they would overcook), and bring the soup to a boil. Once boiling, lower the temperature to a low simmer, and heat the soup for 20 min with a closed lid. Now, add the fresh baby spinach and cherry tomatoes as well as the rice, and simmer for another 10 min.  Remove the drumsticks from the soup, cut the chicken meat into chucks, put the meat back into the soup, and discard the bones.  Add some added salt or chicken bouillon to taste.  Serve ! 

Makes about 3-4 servings.

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