Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken Soup with Brown Rice and Spinach

Now that the holidays are over my love for all things "soupy" is back. If it has broth and goes in a bowl I am all about it! Which drives Kevin crazy because he is a meat guy. You know what I mean, give him a steak and potato and he is a happy camper. We battle back and for over whether or not soup is actually a meal, but since I am cooking guess who wins 9 battles out of 10. Last night was one for my win column (not that I am counting or anything).

With all of the cooking I have done through the years and all of the soups, stews, and chowders I have made, I have never made soup with rice. Not that big of a deal I know. I mean I tend to be more of a noodle kind of girl, but I am also trying to be healthier. I decided a chicken and rice soup would be a good choice. Jessi went to the grocery store with me and as I am scanning the isle I ask her if I should try barley instead of rice. HA you should have seen her face on that one. OK so I scrap the barley idea and go back to the original plan of chicken and rice. Jessi says, "Mom, why don't you use brown rice if you want it to be healthier?". Good idea I think and grab my bag of rice along with my assortment of other goodies and head for the checkout.

When it came time to cook dinner Kevin and I get into the kitchen and get down to our regular routine, he chops, I cook. I get the veggies going and throw in the chicken. It cooks for a bit and I deglaze the pan with some white wine, add the stock, and bring it up to a boil. Nothing new there I know, super simple right? Well it was until I get the brown rice into the mix. Now I know to cook rice you add the rice, get the water (or in this case soup), up to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Kevin's son comes down and said the house smelled amazing and asked what time dinner would be done. I am thinking I will give myself a bit of extra time and say 30 minutes. After 20 minutes I go out to check the soup. The rice is just like it was when I put it in, hard! ACK, what the heck? OK I boost the heat from low to medium and get it simmering. Gave it 15 more minutes and checked it, it was STILL hard. Now I am frustrated. I set the timer for 15 more minutes and sit back down to wait. Have I ever mentioned that I am not a real patient person? I jumped on my Facebook page to kill some time and mentioned that I had never cooked with brown rice and it was taking forever. Many of my wonderful and SMART foodie friends comment that they have found that out in the past. Maybe I should have asked before I started huh? Oh well, we are cooking now. The rice was finally done after about 50 to 60 minutes of cooking. WOW that was a long time. Kevin's son came down to check on dinner at least 2 more times during that span and I felt so bad. The poor kid was starving and I kept telling him "just a few more minutes" when I told him it was finally done he got to the kitchen so fast I think he left a trail of flames behind him!

Now, I don't want to discourage you from making this soup. In the end it came out wonderful and I could have drank a gallon of the broth. Even Miss Picky Pants, who wasn't completely thrilled with the soup, said she loved the broth and drank it all to the last drop. Just learn from my mistake and above all be patient.

The amount I made served 4 people a full bowl of soup. If you want more, have big bowls, or more people, you need to double it for sure.


Chicken Soup with Brown Rice and Spinach

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped (whites and greens)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into bite sized pieces
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
5 sprigs of thyme
1 cup white wine
2 quarts chicken stock
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (I used 1/2 teaspoon)
1 and 1/4 cup brown rice


In a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onions. Give them a stir and then cover the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, and parsley. Let them cook for a couple of minutes and add the diced chicken. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring until the chicken is opaque, about 2 minutes. Deglaze the pot with the white wine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up and browned bit that stick to the bottom. Add the broth, thyme, and rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for approximately 50 minutes. Check the rice to see if it done to your liking, add the spinach and red pepper flakes and cook for a couple of minutes until the spinach has completely wilted. Season to taste and serve.
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4 comments:

  1. Looks perfect. I make brown rice a lot, but have never made a soup with it either. Great tips in here

    Dave

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  2. Looks yummy. Can't wait to try it in the cold days in san francisico.

    ReplyDelete