Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

IMG_1787.JPGThere’s definitely a chill in the air and everyone seems to be passing the sniffles back and forth, which means it’s time for some chicken soup. While I do love a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup, I admit that sometimes I like my soup sans noodles. This version is gluten free, but hearty and delicious. The batch here serves a crowd of 8-10, so cut it in half if you have fewer people, or, better yet, invite some family or friends to share it with you, unless you are sick, in which case enjoy a bowl a day for a week as you recuperate.

The amounts and types of vegetables aren’t set in stone here.  Feel free to experiment with other types or use what you have on hand.  Regular peas would be fine in place of sugar snap.  Green beans, broccoli and corn would also work well.  If you don’t have wild rice, you may substitute plain brown rice in its place.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsp butter
2 cups wild rice blend
2 tsp salt (or more depending on the saltiness of your stock)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
12 cups chicken stock
1-2 cups diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced bell peppers
1/2 cup diced sugar snap peas
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (may use canned)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Cook onion in butter until soft and beginning to brown.  Add rice, salt and pepper and stir for a minute.  Add chicken stock and simmer for 45 min – 1 hour or until the rice is cooked through and the darker grains split open and begin to curl.

Add carrots and celery and simmer 10 minutes.  Add peppers, peas and chicken and return to a simmer.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.  Remove from heat, stir in parsley and enjoy.

This soup is great alone or topped with a drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of pesto.

Garlic Rolls

Winter is upon us.  As I type this, I have a blanket wrapped around me like a shawl and a mug of herbal tea standing by.  A friend of mine used the hashtag #puttingonthewinterweight in a social media post the other day, and I laughed out loud.  There is some truth to the fact that our bodies crave different foods in the cooler months.  We long for calorie-dense meals that will give our bodies the energy to keep warm.  Our genes are unaware of central heating and certainly haven’t heard of a desk job.

We’ve been turning up the oven for dinners lately and enjoying the warm kitchen while we feast on baked meals and pots of soup.  Homemade bread in any form speaks of winter comfort and rolls are often where we turn when we want to be reminded of grandma’s house and slower times gone by.

These rolls are a variation on my slightly-famous (ha!) Hearth Bread.  If you know me, and I’ve brought you a loaf before, then you will recognize the dough. It also makes a killer pizza crust, especially if you raise and bake the dough in a little melted butter.  (It tastes just like Pizza Huts’ famous pan crust, I swear!).  Though we will be making my grandmother’s rolls for Thanksgiving, these would made a beautiful addition to any holiday table.  Enjoy your cozy winter evenings at home!

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Garlic Rolls

Dough:
1 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
2 cups warm wate
1 ½ tsp chopped fresh rosemary or  Italian Herbs or equal parts dried basil and oregano
½ tsp black pepper
dash granular garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp sea salt (or kosher salt)
Bread flour (you will use about 4-6 cups, maybe a little more)

Topping:
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 tsp granular garlic
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley or 2 tsp dried parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
finely grated Parmesan cheese (I sometimes us a combo of Parmesan and Romano in my rotary grater)

Combine yeast, sugar and water in a stand mixer (I use a BOSCH) or a large mixing bowl if mixing by hand.  Add herbs , pepper, oil and about 2 cups flour and stir just for a minute to combine.  Add salt and gradually add more flour until dough is tacky, but not sticky.prinkle with cheese.  Bake in a 400° oven for 12-15 minutes, or until golden.

Place in a well-oiled bowl and allow to raise at room temperature until doubled.  I often do this first raise in the refrigerator overnight.

Shape into rolls, or knots and place on a greased cookie sheet.   Raise until nearly double in size.  Combine topping ingredients, except for the cheese and brush over rolls. IMG_1547.JPG