March 2014: The Children Are Tender
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Sipping Once, Sipping Twice...
I made a pot of chicken soup with rice this morning, and since it is January, and there is indeed ice on the sidewalks and streets, I remembered the poem above. I taught this verse to my first grade classes each January, and would heat Campbell's chicken soup with rice in a crockpot and dole it out with crackers for an afternoon snack. Funny how even canned soup can become a much-anticipated and much-enjoyed treat when it is cold outside (and when you are seven years old and experience the novelty of being given crackers and soup as a mid-afternoon treat at school).
These days I have the luxury of time to make my chicken soup from scratch. This morning I had generous handfuls of fresh sage and rosemary to add to the stock, and the scent of that simmering soup was heavenly on this cold day. I usually don't care much for chicken soup but with the wind howling and sleet falling outside my window, I ate my bowl of soup with good appetite just like my first grade students of yore!
Chicken Soup With Rice
In a large stockpot:
Handful of fresh sage
Some fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
About 6 cloves of garlic
3-4 stalks of celery, chopped
2 medium yellow onions, one chopped, one quartered and stuffed into the cavity of the chicken
4-6 medium carrots, chopped, if desired (when I use wild rice I don't put in carrots--not sure why it's just how I do it!)
Salt & pepper to taste
2.5 cups dry rice
Put all ingredients but rice into a large stockpot, cover with about 3 quarts of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover, cook for an hour or so until the chicken is very tender. Remove the chicken (there's a trick to this; I use a meat lifter beneath the bird and a heavy duty spoon in the cavity for leverage), let it cool just a bit, and remove meat from bones. Pour the stock through a colander and skim away most of the fat--I use a gravy separator. Return the stock to the cooking pot, add 2.5 cups of dry rice to yield about 7 cups or so of cooked rice (follow package directions--I used a wild rice blend that only had to cook for 15 minutes). When rice is nearly done, cut about half the meat (or as much as desired) into bite sized pieces and add it to the soup. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add more boxed (or your own homemade, frozen) broth if needed for the desired consistency.
Number of servings: About 8. Or so. Okay, I have no idea. I took out two servings for my husband and myself and sent the rest to my daughter's family of five.