Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Rotisserie Chicken-Brown Rice Soup with Broccoli--Dance While You Cook



When I was a kid, my dad often took soup in a thermos for his lunch.  He did not eat cold food unless he was out on a boat or the food was ice cream on a hot summer evening--in which case he'd have ice cream for supper.  When I started school, he bought me my own thermos and made my lunch, too.  Of course the only way that was possible was because he'd made soup the night before, intentionally making enough for lunches.  He came from a generation of country people, farmers, who knew enough about life to not waste anything.  Chicken necks and butts, bones, the ends of celery bunches, onion peels, and sometimes things we didn't want to know about, went into Dad's soup.  Waste not….

These days, there can be an easier method, though there doesn't have to be.  I'll admit I rarely buy a rotisserie chicken, for instance, but I do on the rare occasion. The carcass or the cooked flesh itself are both good soup materials.  More often, I'll roast my own chicken or boil one up to make homemade broth a la Dad.  However you end up with a little extra chicken, this quick, nutritious, soup is a good weeknight undertaking and stretches the protein into another meal or two. You can eat off of it a couple of days or invite a neighbor, or even take leftovers to work.  Leftover takeout rice can make the soup nearly instant, though, given a choice, I like letting the soup cook with raw rice. All the elements seem to come together and the flavors marry in a way they don't with already-cooked rice.  I also give a tiny idea for a more Asian-style soup; check the notes below the recipe. However you make this, enjoy soup and maybe you'd like to….



 Read CHICKEN SOUP WITH RICE by Maurice Sendak sometime; it's in the NUTSHELL LIBRARY, a box of small books for all ages.  Or you might like to...


Listen to the song, "Chicken Soup with Rice," by Carole King while you cook. Don't forget to dance.


rotisserie chicken-brown rice soup with broccoli 6 servings
If you have no dill or thyme or bay,  use other dried herbs such as basil and/or oregano if those are on hand.  No broccoli, but you have green beans or zucchini? Do that.   I had a little chopped fresh yellow squash left from the weekend; I threw that in, too.   Feel free; the chicken soup police are on vacation this week.
  • 1 tablespoon each:  olive oil and butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, scrubbed and sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt+
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 white wine or increase water to 1 1/2 cups
  • 1/2 cup brown rice*
  • 1 cup diced, cooked chicken
  • 1 cup cooked broccoli, chopped
  • Hot sauce, to taste
  • Fresh parsley, finely minced, optional
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Cheddar cheese
In a 6-quart pot, heat butter and oil over medium heat; add onions, celery, and carrots.  Sprinkle with spices, salt-thyme and add bay leaf. Cook, stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes or until vegetables are softened; add garlic and cook for one more minute.

Pour in broth, water, and wine.  Cover, bring to a boil,  and add rice. Lower heat, cover again, and simmer until rice is tender, about 45 minutes.  Add chicken and broccoli, and stir in 2-3 drops hot sauce.  Cook gently for another 3 minutes or so to heat through.   Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.  Serve hot, garnished with parsley, if using,  and/or grated cheese.

+If you'd like a more Asian-style soup, leave out the salt and shake in soy sauce to taste at the table.  A few cilantro and/or mint leaves could then be your garnish--perhaps some chopped peanuts.

*A:  If you by chance have leftover takeout rice, you can use that, too.  Just let the soup simmer a few minutes, rather than 45, and you have dinner. B:  If you use white rice in place of brown, your soup will be ready in about twenty minutes.

Storage note:  As this is made with cooked chicken already a day old, eat or freeze within a day or two. (Click on link for the exact info from still tasty.com, where you can look up the time you are able to keep or store any food--fresh, cooked, dried, etc.)

Have fun cooking and taking care of yourself and do stop by moretimeatthetable.com, where Salmon on Lentil Risotto with Mushrooms and Fresh Greens is up today,


Alyce

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