Well, fall is finally here. Unfortunately, the weather here so far has been cloudy, wet, and chilly, not the sunny, crisp, and cool fall I adore. After spending a chilly Saturday morning with the pups at our local open spaces dog park, I decided holing up inside for the evening with a steaming bowl of soup sounded like a perfect idea.
I tried this recipe for the first time last winter, and I knew immediately after trying it that it was a keeper. At the time, I originally planned to follow the recipe and use a wild rice mix. However, the grocery store where I picked up my ingredients didn’t happen to have wild rice. As I was too lazy to make a trip to a second store, I decided to find an alternative. It was at this moment that I discovered black rice, an item I had never cooked with before. Also known by the name forbidden rice, apparently black rice originates from China and was once reserved for Chinese royalty alone. Turns out black rice is one of the healthiest rice options, beating out brown rice in protein, fiber, and antioxidant content. Such a happy accident! The antioxidant-rich portion of the rice also happens to turn the soup a lovely light lavender color.
The soup comes together quickly and doesn’t require a long list of ingredients. I tweaked the original recipe a bit, as I prefer to use whole portions of onion, carrots, and celery rather than measuring them out. Out of laziness, I also cooked the rice right in the soup rather than cooking it beforehand. It turned out just fine and thickened the soup further, allowing for omission of the heavy cream.
1 small onion, chopped
3-4 carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
7 Tbsp butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
¼ tsp. of each dried thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary, and pepper
¾ tsp. salt
¾ cup uncooked black rice
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup flour
1½ cups milk
1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook another minute or so. Add chicken broth, water, and seasonings.
2. Bring mixture to a boil. Add chicken and rice and reduce heat to low. Cover pot and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until rice is cooked.
3. Remove chicken and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Once cool enough to handle, shred into bite size pieces and return to soup.
4. In a medium saucepan, melt remaining butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook for a minute, whisking constantly. Slowly pour in milk, whisking continuously. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until it thickens. Add to soup mixture and cook about 10 minutes longer, or until soup is thickened. Serve warm.
Yield: 4-6 servings
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Classy)