Yep, still winter here in Minneapolis. Although we don’t have much snow and our temperatures are well above zero (which is actually balmy for this time of year) it is definitely still winter. And this is the time of winter that I start going just a little crazy, dreaming about sunshine and warmer weather. I do have a vacation coming up pretty soon, but in the meantime I’m just going to have make do with this Chicken Tortilla Soup. Light yet packed with flavor, this soup will bring you just a little piece of summer….
I love winter food. Short ribs and mashed potatoes. Pastas and soups. My dutch oven works overtime putting out delicious comfort foods. But despite a temperature today of -21 (I am sadly not exaggerating about that one), I just craved salad. But it had to be a hearty one. One with a tangy dressing. A salad like Roasted Pear and Apple Salad with Pomegranate Vinaigrette.…
What sounds better to eat on a snowy evening than Chicken Wild Rice Soup? All I have heard about this week, on social media, TV, radio, everywhere, is tales of the blizzard. Blizzards don’t normally catch my attention since I do live in Minneapolis, where a blizzard is a pretty common winter experience. This one, though, where the drifts were over my head in New York and they had more snow than us in Washington D. C., seeped into my subconsciousness. Frankly, I was kind of jealous (for a few minutes), because it feels like we haven’t gotten much snow lately! So today when the flakes started coming down (much more gently here than on the East Coast), I was inspired to make one of my favorite cold weather foods. Chicken Wild Rice Soup is one of those foods that, in my mind anyway, has it all-vegetables, protein and that always comforting cream.
Chicken Wild Rice Soup was one of the first foods I ever cooked for my husband. I had him over to my tiny apartment while we were dating, and I made a pot of something very loosely resembling Chicken Wild Rice Soup. Did I mention before that when I met my husband I did not cook? At all. What in the world tempted me to make chicken wild rice soup? One of the world’s great mysteries! Sadly, my attempt was a flour-y, chunky, overcooked chicken disaster. I’m positive I do not have enough space in a blog post to explain what went wrong, but suffice to say, it is a testament to my husband’s love for me that he choked some down (and married me anyway).
Luckily, fast forward 20 years since our “dating” days, and I think I now have this one down. I poach my chicken so it does not get dry or overcooked. I use homemade stock (you surely can use store bought and I promise it will still be good, but if you have homemade stock-this is the place to use it!). I use the traditional Minnesota wild rice. And, although almonds may seem like a strange addition to a soup, I can attest to the fact that they are the loveliest addition, think crunch and flavor all in one bite. So, if the snow is falling in your area, or you are in need of a comfort food, try this one.
- ½ cup butter
- 1 finely chopped onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 8 cups chicken stock (I used homemade, store bought would work equally well), divided
- 2 cups of cooked wild rice
- 1½ pound chicken tenders (or chicken breasts)
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 1 cup of slivered almonds
- 3½ Tablespoons cooking sherry
- 2 cups half-and-half
- To Poach Chicken: Place chicken tenders (or chicken breasts) in a saucepan with 2 cups of chicken stock, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon ground pepper.
- Simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through.
- Allow to cool.
- Chop chicken to be used in soup.
- To Make Soup: Melt butter in a dutch oven or large stock pot.
- Stir in the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 7-10 minutes or until soft.
- Add the flour and stir until mixed in.
- Slowly add 6 cups of chicken stock, stir continuously while adding.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
- Add the rice, chicken, 1½ teaspoons salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, ½ teaspoon ground pepper, almonds and sherry.
- Add the half-and-half.
- Simmer for 1-2 hours until all flavors have melded.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Note: If reheating, you may need to add a small amount of stock to thin the soup, it does thicken upon cooling.
Recently, I was asked to bring a salad for a dinner at a friend’s house. The morning of the event, I still did not know what I was going to bring. To me, salad is a summer-ish food and despite my deep love for all things salad, I just had a mental block. While looking for a good option I stumbled upon Melissa D’Arabian’s Pomegranate, Squash and Apple salad from her cookbook Supermarket Healthy. (To be honest, I stumbled upon two of her fabulous salads, but the other salad is a topic for another post!) …