Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Spiced Chicken and Rice Soup

During the winter I love having stews and soups, they seem so satisfying and appropriate for the colder weather. Sometimes I want to have soup for dinner and it's nice to have options that are quick, easy, and inexpensive. This was the first time I made a Chicken and Wild Rice type soup, but instead of using wild rice, I used a Trader Joe's rice mix that contains brown rice, black barley, and Daikon radish seeds. This mix was so delightfully unusual that I think it trumps the typical wild rice blends.

I love trying new grains and seeds and incorporating them into my diet. I believe it is really healthy to have a variety of grains and seeds in your diet, not have it be primarily wheat, and especially not primarily refined grains. I'm learning all the time about different grains and seeds, and these two are going to be keepers. The black barley lent a nice texture to the soup, and the Daikon radish seeds sort of burst in your mouth when you bite into them.

I love having a spicy, or spiced, broth when I make soup, so I paired this soup with coriander and a little pinch of turmeric. I think it gives this soup an Indian spiciness that is perfect for winter.

Spiced Chicken and Rice Soup
Original Recipe
Time: 45 min Serves: 5
Cook's Note: For a Gluten Free option, just omit the black barley or chose a rice only medley.
Gluten-Free Option

8-10 cups chicken broth or stock
3/4 cup rice mix: long grain brown rice, black barley, Daikon radish seeds (or Trader Joe's "Brown Rice Medley")
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 carrots, quartered and sliced
3 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1 bay leaf
3 celery stalks, diced
splash of milk or cream, optional
2 tbsp olive oil
2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper, to taste

How To:
In a large stock pot, bring broth to a boil. Once broth is rapidly boiling, add rice mix. Boil for 35 - 40 minutes or until tender.

In another pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add onions. Turn heat down to medium. Saute for 8 minutes. Cook until onions are translucent and softened. Add garlic. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add onions and garlic to stock pot with boiling rice. Add carrots to stock pot. Add coriander, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, and bay leaf.

In a cast iron skillet over medium - high heat add olive oil. Add chicken breasts to hot skillet. Cook chicken for a total of 10-12 minutes, turning only a few times during cooking. Try to achieve a nice browning on the chicken.

Remove chicken from skillet. Cube chicken into bite-sized pieces, chicken may not be done all the way through. It will finish cooking in the soup. Add chicken pieces to stock pot. Add celery as well. Finish boiling the soup for another 15 - 20 minutes or until rice is tender yet still has a bite (al dente). Add salt and pepper to taste. Add cream if desired.

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