A Wicked Scoff...Recipes and Food with Newfoundland and New England Influences.

This blog is dedicated to bring recipes, photographs, anecdotes, reviews and other insights on everything food related. As the name suggests, "A Wicked Scoff" will have a regional flare, a fusion if you will, of both Newfoundland and New England perspectives of the culinary world around me. Thanks for visiting and please come back often as updates will be frequent. Oh yeah, I also like tasting and cooking with regional beers. Expect a beer of the month, often paired with recipes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chicken and Rice Soup with Root Vegetables and Kale

As mentioned in my last post, I recently made a chicken and rice soup, fortified with extra vegetables and wholesome ingredients. Typically I make chicken and rice soup like my mother or nan would, using a homemade stock, chicken (whole or pieces), a vegetable medley consisting of onion, celery, carrot, rutabaga, and potato, typical Newfoundland choices, and white rice. To make this already healthy meal even more so, and to try and make it taste as good I made a few changes to my usual recipe. 

The first change I made was to substitute high fiber long grain brown rice for white rice. Secondly, I omitted the potatoes and more celery, carrots and rutabaga than usual. Lastly, I added chopped kale, which is considered by many nutritionist and one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat (along with other dark leafy greens). The kale really cooks down and I promise it will be a welcomed addition to any of your own soup recipes. If you can't find kale, or want to add another similar vegetable, turnip greens (common in Newfoundland - actually rutabaga greens), mustard greens or spinach, then go right ahead. Here's how I put it together.

1 whole chicken
bay leaves
tops of celery and carrots
4 ribs celery, chopped fine
4 large carrots, chopped
1 large (2 medium) yellow onions
1 rutabaga, diced
1 bunch kale
1/2 cup long grain brown rice
1 tsp savory (optional)
salt and pepper

Place a cleaned whole chicken in a large dutch oven, or your favorite soup pot, and add enough water to cover. Add the tops of the celery and carrots you will use later in the soup, along with 2 bay leaves and a good pinch or two of salt and pepper. Bring the pot to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for one hour. While the chicken cooks, prep your vegetables. Skim off any skum that forms on the top. Remove the chicken from the stock and let rest and cool. Using a slotted spoon, remove the stock ingredients (veggies, bay leaves) until left with a clear chicken stock. Taste for salt.

Return the stock to a simmer and add all the vegetables except for the kale. If your rutabaga cubes are larger than the pieces of carrot, give them a 5 minute head start. Add the brown rice and the savory. Simmer until the vegetables are tender and the rice is mostly cooked. About 30 minutes. In the meantime, remove the meat from the chicken. I find that the dark meat can be pulled apart by hand, but I like to remove each breast whole and chop it in large chunks. Reserve the meat as adding it too early can make it fall apart too much. Wash the kale and cut it into shreds. Add it to the simmering pot. While it may look like a lot, it will cook down dramatically. Cook the kale for 10 minutes, add the chicken and pot, and turn off the soup. I found that the rice had absorbed some water so I added a couple cups to top up the pot. Taste for salt and pepper.

I always like soup best the next day. What I like to do is make soup on a weeknight after work, keep it in the fridge overnight and then reheat portions for supper and lunches the rest of the week. I add some crushed saltine crackers to the top and I'm all set! Enjoy.

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