So that snowstorm they were predicting? It actually hit. The snow is above my knees – we spent a solid 24 hours shoveling and the snow banks are taller than me in many spots. Our electricity never wavered. The house is warm. The snow has been fun.
And the food has been plentiful. My normal grocery trip is on Monday and this week I bought a few extra things in case we were cooped up for a few days. I also planned a week’s worth of cozy, comfort foods to fortify the family. Thought I’d share this week’s menu and one of its very successful recipes.
Monday: Chicken Pot Pie
Tuesday: Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup (recipe below)
Wednesday: Roasted Red Pepper & Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes
A short story about this recipe. Each Fall my husband & I make a trip to Northern Michigan. It’s become a tradition for us and it’s one of our favorite trips of the year. One year we hit the Traverse City region on a weekend wine tasting event. Each winery offered a food paired with one of their wines – we snacked & drank the weekend away! One winery offered this soup. And I have to be honest I was surprised to find soup paired with wine (Chardonnay in case you’re curious). But the pairing on this one totally works. And this soup? It is out of this world.
Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup
2 pieces of celery diced
2 carrots, diced
1 large leek, sliced into half moons
1 small box of wild rice plus approx 1 cup of brown rice
1 cube of chicken bouillon
32oz of chicken stock
2 cups water
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
6 cups of milk, divided
salt & pepper
1. Empty box of wild rice into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill the remainder of the measuring cup with brown rice.
2. In a large stock pot place celery, carrots, leek, rice, bouillon, stock & water. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (rice should absorb most of the liquid). Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a sauce pan melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and make a medium blond roux – stirring constantly until the flour takes on a dark blond color. Slowly add four cups of milk – a little at a time, still stirring constantly. If you have any flour lumps use the whisk. Pour the milk mixture into the stock pot with the rice. Add the chopped chicken, stir it all together and return the stock pot to a burner on low.
4. Add the remainder of the milk. Season with salt & pepper and let the whole thing simmer together for an hour – stirring every 15 minutes or so.
A quick note about leeks. These members of the onion family add a wonderful sweet flavor that a regular onion just doesn’t have. If you’ve never cooked with one before you might be surprised to find that they trap a lot of dirt between their layers. To prepare a leek, cut off the root tip and the dark green leaves – discard. Peel off the first layer of the leek and discard that also. Then slice the leek in half and into thin half moons. Place the pieces in a colander and rinse well with water – swishing them around with your hand to separate the layers and rinse away all the dirt.