Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chicken, Rice, and Ginger Soup

I made this soup in the slow-cooker because it worked better with my schedule that day, but you could also make it in a big pot on your stove or in your oven. If you don't already have leftover cooked chicken handy, you can poach it or roast it (or whatever you want to do) while the soup is cooking.

Total Time: about 4 hours in slow-cooker; about an hour on stove top
Makes 6 servings

1/4 C roughly chopped onion (I used a Spanish onion because I like it's sweet flavor in soups)
1/2 C roughly chopped celery
1/2 C roughly chopped carrots
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 hunk of ginger, peeled and minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 C sherry
1 C brown rice
4 C low-sodium chicken broth, homemade or store-bought
4 C water
4 C cooked, shredded chicken
3 scallions, white and pale green parts finely chopped
small bunch of basil, leaves cut into thin strips (chiffonade)
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
Sriracha, to taste (optional)

In a food processor, process the the onion, celery, and carrots until you get a thick paste (pestata). Heat a large skillet (not non-stick) to medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the smashed garlic and cook, stirring, until the garlic begins to brown (do not let the garlic burn). Remove the garlic from the skillet and discard. Add the pestata to the skillet, season with a teaspoon of kosher salt and some black pepper, and cook until the water from the vegetables evaporates and the pestata begins to brown.

Clear a spot in the pan and add the ginger, cooking until fragrant. Stir the ginger into the vegetable mixture; deglaze the pan with the sherry, scraping up the yummy brown bits with a wooden spoon. Cook for another minute or so, until all of the liquid has evaporated again.

Add the vegetables to the slow-cooker, then add the rice, chicken broth, and water.  Stir together and cook on high for 2 hours, then low for up to two hours or so, until your rice is fully cooked.

When ready to serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with the cooked shredded chicken, and garnish with basil and scallions.  Drizzle some Sriracha (if using) over each bowl of soup and stir it in right before eating.

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