Friday, October 16, 2009
Chicken Soup With Rice
It's been so cold outside lately that I thought a nice warm bowl of soup would be nice to warm up with. And what better way to start off the chilly season than with Chicken Soup With Rice by Maurice Sendak?
If anyone is not familiar with Chicken Soup With Rice, I urge you to head on over to YouTube and watch the animation of it, with the story sung by Carole King. Basically, it's a little boy who sings about the months of the year and how his favorite dish - chicken soup with rice - fits into the grand scheme of things. In June, for example, chicken soup with rice is used to perk up wilting flowers, and it (in bowls, of course) decorates a Christmas tree in December.
I had originally thought to make this a nice, neat, relatively healthy recipe, until I looked at the pictures in the book again and talked to a few friends who told me that chicken soup with rice is wholly unacceptable unless it was creamy chicken soup with rice. It doesn't look especially creamy in the illustrations, but I suppose that's open to interpretation. And it tastes pretty good that way, though, yet again, it is not healthy. And it has a few more ingredients than I usually use. But who wants directions to make a salad, anyway?
Chicken Soup With Rice
2 tsp. olive oil
3 cups chicken meat - 4 thighs or 3 breasts should do
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups uncooked brown rice (note: don't use minute rice! It mushes into the soup)
1 tsp. chicken boullion powder
2 (14 oz.) cans chicken broth
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pot (one of those big spaghetti pots), heat the olive oil and sautee the chicken. After it is cooked, remove it from the pot, cut the chicken into soup-sized chunks and set it aside. I used chicken thighs because that's what I had on hand.
2. Put the onions and celery into the pot and sautee until its soft and partially translucent. Add the broth, bouillon, water, and rice, and heat on medium until boiling, then reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat.
3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter or margarine. Slowly add the flour, stirring often, to make a roux.
4. Add 4 cups of milk to the roux, 1/2 cup at a time, while constantly stirring. Add this and the chicken to the rice mixture and return the rice mixture to the stovetop over low heat.
5. If the soup seems too thick, add some or all of the remaining 2 cups of milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste and allow to simmer for at least an hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
This soup will be pretty thick - almost like a stew. I didn't add either of the extra two cups of milk, and I don't think it needed it. It's creamy, kinda like a pot pie filling. As I said, my use of minute rice backfired a bit, since they dissolved a bit into the soup, but it's still delicious. I would celebrate a snowman's anniversary with this soup.
Oh, and one more thing. No matter how good it smells, let it cool down before you eat it. I burned my tongue.