Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Chicken and Rice Soup

From Isabel's Cantina (link to the right)

It's been a bit on the chilly side and, judging by my last post date on here, I was due to make something. Soup sounded like a good choice, so I had my parents over for dinner at my new place. Since my social circle now consists of...well...them. I picked this recipe because it seemed like the most simple and I wasn't trying to blow up my new kitchen, ya know?

2Tb olive oil
1 lg yellow onion
4 garlic cloves minced
2 md diced carrots
2 diced celery stalks
6c chicken broth
2 bay leaves (mom failed and brought me basil! oh well ;) )
pinch of saffron
3-8oz boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1in pieces (oops I used 3 whole halves)
8oz asparagus, cut into 2in pieces
6c cooked rice
1 jarred roasted red pepper, cut into strips (bought this and totally forgot to use it)

Dad's tip: hold the asparagus on each end and bend it. Wherever it breaks is where you should cut it to cut off the ends.

heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed (HA! like me!!) pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 3 mins. Add the carrots and celery. Continue cooking for a few mins more, stirring to coat the veggies with the oil. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, and saffron. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so the broth simmers. Cook for 20mins, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.

Add the chicken and asparagus, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the chicken is just cooked through and the asparagus is tender, about 5 mins. Discard the bay leaves.

To serve, ladle the soup into the bowls and add a scoop of rice to the center of each bowl (I used that frozen rice from Trader Joes, so I just threw it in with the soup to thaw out). Top the rice with strips of bell pepper and serve hot.

It was pretty good. Not great, but good. It tasted like chicken noodle. But with rice. It definitely needed more salt and pepper than what I put in it and some other seasonings. Perhaps the missing bay leaves? I think my mom suggested oregano, too. I bought a par-baked loaf of crusty bread at Trader Joe's and stuck in the oven for a few and served it nice and warm. That bread was awesome. So good! Super crunchy on the outside and really soft on the inside. The soup was pretty quick and easy to make and really good the next day when the rice soaks up a bunch of the broth.

My roommate came home just before dinner so I invited her to join us, as my parents hadn't met her yet and I know she works a lot and is pretty beat when she gets home. She was excited for food and some fresh ears to talk off. I definitely learned a lot more about her and my dad kept asking her the questions that he and I were talking about that I hadn't asked her yet. Good job, dad!

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