Welcome to my "Florida" blog

Being a third generation Florida native, I'm completely enamored with the diverse beauty of this gorgeous peninsula. For most of the year the weather is divine which makes exploring its unlimited nooks and crannies fun and easy.

Wherever I go I appreciate nature and the world around me. Come along with me as I share the places I visit and perhaps a few other amusements I find interesting along the way.

(FYI: Every post prior to January 1, 2009 was previously published and imported from my garden blog)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tummy Warming Comfort Food

Homemade soup is just the ticket for chilly winter weather. I can't remember a winter when there were so many eligible nights and weekends for a good, yummy soup to take the chill off from head to toe.

Soup is just fun to make. There are so many combinations and ways to throw a good soup together. This winter I came up with one that has become my favorite. That usually is the case until I come up with another that is my favorite. But right now this one gets top billing.

I love to cook but rarely cook from a recipe. But I'm going to do my best to give out some good approximate directions for this soup. Because if you like soup ~~ you are going to want to make this one.
Wild Rice Creamy Chicken (or whatever you decide you want to call it ~~ that's just the name I came up with).
Don't let my estimated amounts on the ingredients scare you. You really can't go wrong if you just do what feels right in cases like making soup.

Start with the stock! This is really important. Don't try to skimp on this step because like a good garden starts with the soil~~~ a good soup starts with the stock.
Chicken Stock
Ingredients (in estimated amounts):
A whole fryer
2 or 3 stalks of celery (cut in half or leave whole)
2 or 3 carrots (cut in half or leave whole)
2 or 3 onions (cut in half or quarters)
Salt to taste
2 Tbls 'Better Than Boullion' Chicken Base
2 cloves of garlic (optional)
Put all ingredients in your largest pot and add water to almost the top. Bring it to a boil and then turn it down to cook slowly.
When the chicken is falling apart (about an hour or 1.5) lift it out of the pot and set it aside to debone when cooled.
All that remarkably yummy flavor in a liquid!

Remove all other ingredients (cooked onions, carrots, celery) from broth and discard.
Note: I usually do this next part at the same time I start my stock.
Cook wild rice and brown rice together in a separate pot (from stock).
I always use 100% Natural Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice (this is not a step to take a short cut on either~~ cultivated wild rice is just too superb!) ... never instant or quick cook... same with brown rice.
After I cook my wild rice (following pkg directions) which takes about 55 minutes for it to pop open and have that wonderful nutty texture and flavor... then I add another 1-1/2 c of water right on top of the wild rice, bring that to a boil and add 3/4 c of brown rice and cook for another 30 minutes then remove from heat.
Next Step...
Don't cringe or try to act like you don't like it... you're going to need to melt an entire stick of butter on low. Yes, an entire stick. Trust me you are going to love this.

Simmer together following ingredients in the butter:
3 or 4 stalks of celery chopped
2 or 3 (med)onions chopped
3 or 4 carrots sliced thin or sometimes I grate them for a different texture
2 or 3 leeks (depending on size) Leeks add a wonderfully mild oniony taste to just about any soup.

Oops... I took this photo before I added the carrots. But, believe me, I added the carrots.
Once these ingredients have simmered for about 8 minutes (give or take one or two ~I'm guessing here) add flour a tablespoon (approx.) at a time sprinkling it right on the veggies but stirring all the while. If you aren't comfortable with adding it right on top of the veggies, you can remove them and set them aside to work directly with the butter and flour.
This step is like making gravy. Everything in the pot will start pasting together. Keep stirring on med. high for a few minutes. At this point slowly add the liquid chicken broth back in.
It goes without saying to keep stirring. I sure hope all this is making any sense whatsoever.

And don't forget the mushrooms. I prefer to use an entire package of baby portabello. I only had white mushrooms on this occasion. They work well, too. Chop them up and
pour them in.
Now all that good chicken you deboned while the ingredients were simmering is ready to go into the pot. And then all that wild and brown rice you cooked earlier.

Lastly, I walk out to the garden and choose some really nice stems of parsley. Both flat and curly along with some basil. Chop it up and throw them in the pot.
Well, actually this is the lastly...
Once everything is all stirred together and salted to taste remove the pot from the burner and slowly stir in 1/2 and 1/2 (or even heavy cream if you want to make it really rich) to thicken it to the creaminess you desire.
Toast some fresh cuban bread with garlic salt and warm your little heart with some smacking good soup.


marmee said...

this sounds so good...i have been somewhat remiss in my soup cooking this winter for some reason. usually i am make lots of it.
i will try this soon.
can't wait to be there myself eating some of your yummy recipes.

Meems said...

If it is still cold when you visit I'll have to brew up something with this delicio broth.

I failed to say in my post that this is the broth I cook up to store in 2 quart freezer bags in the freezer. It is easy to pull out a bag for use when cooking dried beans, veggies, or other soups. Can't beat it for flavor!!

But for this soup the entire batch goes into the soup.

gigi said...

i just want to testify! i was present when the photo-log was done while the soup was being made! also got to hang around for the final results and the soup supper on the back patio!! absolutely deliciouso! it is a prize-winning recipe! nothing is really worthwhile to cook unless it tastes really good, and this is a treat to the taste-buds. mmm-mmm!
i will say that it takes a lot of time and i tend to quick cook these days. if you really have this much time to spend in the kitchen (and i don't know how you do it with all your other have-to-do lists) it is well-worth every minute of preparation time.

marmee said...

making my take on this right now...with pheasant instead of chicken. only because i already had it on hand.
i can't wait to taste it...it smells sooooo goood.

ChrisC said...

That sounds delish!I'm always in the market for another good soup recipe.Gonna give that one a try.
It would be good with leftover turkey,too,I'll bet.

marmee said...

okay how many times can i comment in one day...i guess at least three.
we just finished eating our "wild rice & creamy pheasant soup."
oh my oh my! i loved it. really great to add the cream at the end makes it seem even more homey~down goodness.
i will tell you i did add two additional ingredients.
season all salt just a bit...the rest was a new grey sea salt i am trying. also, something i am really loving added to many soups these days...hungarian paprika...adds a little kick.
thanks again for this great off the cuff recipe...i think it might just become one of my favourites along with the cauliflower creamy soup.
happy chilly february.

Meems said...

Pheasant sounds scrumpdilly-icious for a spin on this soup. Always have to have some season salt. I do sea salt after its in the bowl. So glad you made this and you liked it. That creamy cauliflower is out of this world good, too. Admittedly,not an orginal so I haven't posted it. Happy tummy warming!

Sherri said...

Looks great. Our unseasonably cold winter has prompted me to cook a lot more soup than I usually do. Some chicken broth based. Others beef or vegetable broth based. I, too, always have bags of frozen broth, soup, or marinara sauce in my freezer. I love to cook.

I'm going to try this recipe. Thanks for posting it.

joey said...

Looks delicious on this snowy day, Meems. Thanks for sharing!

Floridacracker said...

I'm sitting here freezing my toes off and even though it's breakfast time, that soup looks great!

Meems said...

That was one of the few mild weather cycles we've enjoyed this month. Eating on the back porch is something we LOVE to do but this season has acted like a real winter and most nights it has been too chilly.

Turkey would make a great sub for this soup.

Soups are so wonderful in this weather. It makes a great gift for sharing, too.

Well, we haven't had snow but we have had some wonderfully chilly weather. Thanks for dropping by.

Believe me, FC, I've eaten this soup for mid-morning brunch. If I get started in the garden early and come inside for a quick bite of something... this soup makes a good grab... anytime of day or night.

Anonymous said...

oh this soup looks sooooo good.
i'm coming over with my soup spoon.