I apologize for having taken such a long break from my blog, but I have missed it and I am back. I will be adding lots of recipes as we all start to cook for the holidays. I made this delicious soup for MYSELF a few Friday nights ago. I was craving something and couldn’t quite put my finger on it and I had these ingredients on hand and at about 8 p.m. I just started cooking. It came together really fast and was a nice late dinner for the kids as they came rolling in with friends later that night. Simmering soups are great for two reasons, they make your home smell wonderful (especially when using this combination of spices) and the soup doesn’t need to be pulled out and reheated as loved ones come home.
This is almost a pantry recipe. By this I mean most of these ingredients should already be on hand. In my book Real Food for Real People I provide a list of what is needed for a well stocked pantry and it’s a good idea to have several no fail recipes that you can make without much notice (read hungry teens and friends). My favorite is Penne Pasta with Pancetta and Peas (recipe in Real Food for Real People). I almost always have these ingredients and can make dinner for 10 in about 20 minutes. For this soup, I already had frozen chicken breast, chicken stock in a box, wild rice in the pantry and a few carrots and some celery in the fridge. The only thing I typically don’t have is a little fresh cream. It’s a good idea to always have some fresh cream because it does last a long time and it’s nice if others take cream in their coffee. I also put bourbon whiskey in this! Maker’s Mark to be exact. I love a little alcohol to bring out the flavor in these ingredients. You can also use white wine or some dry sherry.
Below is the recipe I started with. It is so important to learn to adapt recipes to your personal tastes. I like deep complex flavors, so I added some complimentary spices that I personally love. I don’t like to put flour in my soups because I don’t like them that thick. I find organic ingredients make a big difference in a soup as opposed to a cookie (e.g. an Oreo tastes great even if not organic). I also love carrots, but celery not so much. And I can NEVER make anything without some fresh garlic. Because of the kids (now teens) I used a wild rice medley. A pure wild rice would provide an unfamiliar color contrast to the soup that I knew the kids wouldn’t like. Most kids like white starches making the medley a nice compromise.
Experimenting last winter with flavors I found I loved dried tarragon in most anything. I also like my onion almost nonexistent. I know it adds great flavor, but I never want to see it in a soup, so I dice onions very small. When I read this recipe I thought it might be a little bland for my tastes, but by using just a small amount of dried spices like tarragon paprika and curry I was able to pump up the flavor. The fresh garlic and whiskey didn’t hurt either.
Sydney’s Chicken, Whiskey & Wild Rice Soup
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 celery stocks rinsed and chopped into small pieces
4 carrots cut into small pieces
2 cloves of finely chopped fresh garlic
1 small onion diced fine
2 lbs. chicken breast cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon each salt and white pepper
2 quarts organic chicken broth
2 cups water
1 cup wild rice medley (combination of brown and wild rice)
1 cup fresh whipping cream
Melt the butter in a large soup pot or deep dutch oven and add celery, carrots, garlic and onion. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes and then add the raw chicken, fresh thyme, tarragon, paprika, curry and salt and pepper. Stir well and cook until chicken turns white and then add the whiskey and cook for anther 2 minutes. Ingredients should be well incorporated. Add the broth and water and bring to a soft boil then add the rice. Reduce heat and allow to simmer as long as you can stand it (1-2 hours). Add the cup of fresh cream and allow to heat through before serving.