Roasted Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Todays soup is Chicken with Wild Rice. This chunky, hearty, soul-warming soup is a family favorite.

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Did you know that soup was one of the first fast foods? Since it can be stretched to feed as many as necessary, it’s a great choice when you’re not sure how many people will be stopping by to eat… add a few more splashes of broth here, more vegetables there… and voila! Bowls all around.

Roasted Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
(adapted from Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

1 (6-oz) box long-grain and wild rice mix (such as Uncle Ben’s)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups red onion, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
2 garlic cloves, chopped
12 white button mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
32 oz fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
12 oz fat-free evaporated milk
3 cups shredded roasted skinless chicken

Directions:

1. Prepare rice according to package directions; set aside. Roast chicken, cool slightly, shred into bite size pieces; set aside.

2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and next 4 ingredients (onion through mushrooms), and sauté for 6 minutes or until onion is tender. Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Stir the flour, tarragon, and thyme into the onion mixture, and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add 2 cups water, sherry, broth, and evaporated milk; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes or until slightly thick. Stir in cooked rice and chicken; cook for 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Yield: Approximately 8-10 servings.

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Coconut Chicken Curry

February in Portland always fools us with its sunny, springlike days. Then, just as you think it’s safe to go outside, the cold winds knock you down. I was able to sneak away to the beach last weekend, and returned to a husband and daughter who appear to have caught the flu. Let me tell you, not having the flu while everyone else in your house does, is almost as bad as all that. They seem to be on the mend, and as a way to stay clear of their germs, I spent some time creating comfort food. I’m not sure they loved it, but I sure found it comforting.

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If you’re still in the wintery season where you are, you need this in your life.

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Keep in mind that I am still without a stove or kitchen, so I made this in my life-saving skillet.

This could easily be turned into a vegetarian or vegan dish. I’m thinking of trying it with cauliflower, green onions, maybe some chickpeas. Once you get the curry sauce to your taste, you can build it however you like.

Coconut Chicken Curry

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 sweet onion, diced
1 delicata or butternut squash, diced
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
2 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 Teaspoon ground ginger
2 Teaspoons tumeric
2 Teaspoons coriander
2 Teaspoons curry powder
1/8 Teaspoon cayenne
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Rice or pasta to serve alongside

Directions
Heat 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet (or Dutch oven) over high heat. Cut chicken breasts into 1 inch pieces and cook until browned on all sides. Remove and set aside.
Reduce heat and add remaining 1 T olive oil to pan. Add diced onion, diced squash and ginger powder. Cook for a few minutes until the onion and squash is soft. Add pressed garlic and cook for another couple minutes.
Add tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until puree is lightly browned.
Add broth, coconut milk, tumeric, coriander, curry and cayenne. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add chicken and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
Stir in cilantro.
Serve with rice or pasta, and a glass of red wine.