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If there is a time better suited to big steaming cauldrons of hot soups, packed with tasty things, I don’t know when it would be.
Here in the Northeast, we are still being battered by winter, and an unending succession of “events”, each of which dumps more snow on us, amid bone chilling cold and wind. There is nothing we can do about it, except dig out another sweater, and tuck into a big bowl of this soup.
My AeroGarden is still going strong, filled with a delicious array of fresh herbs, and I figure I may as well take full advantage of the most prolific of them, which is the dill. The dill is crazy.
I have made this Cottage Cheese Dill Bread innumerable times, which is fantastic, because it is still an all-time favorite around here, but even that couldn’t come close to using it all up. I am making a batch of Refrigerator Garlic Dill Pickles this morning, using store bought cukes that were on sale this week, because we are down to our last jar from the garden, and there will still be dill when I’m done.
I came up with this recipe in January, when we were running back forth to the hospital to visit Larry’s sister, and later on, when she was home with hospice care. It’s easy to throw together with a few pantry and freezer staples, and the result is completely delicious and comforting. Dill and chicken are a match made in heaven!
A few notes about the ingredients: I nearly always have some chicken stock in the freezer, but if you don’t, you can use a good quality pre-made brand. Try to use low sodium though, because it tastes better, and makes it easier to adjust the seasoning. I use Jasmine rice most of the time, because of the great flavor it brings to any recipe, but you can use any white rice. Brown rice could be used, but since it takes so much longer to cook, I would probably cook it separately, before adding it to the soup.
Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup with Dill
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 medium carrots peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 medium onion peeled and cut in a small dice
- 2 medium celery stalks cut in a small dice
- 2 cups cauliflower cut in a medium dice
- 2 - 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 10 grinds fresh black pepper
- 8 cups low sodium chicken stock or broth
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 3/4 cup Jasmine or Basmati rice
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup fresh dill coarsely chopped
- Spread the diced chicken out on a plate, and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, set aside.
- Melt the butter in a 5 quart soup pot or Dutch oven.
- Stir in the carrots, onion, celery, cauliflower and garlic, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
- Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. You just want everything cook, and soften, so keep the heat low enough to prevent things from browning.
- Add the chicken stock and the bay leaves, cover and bring up to a simmer.
- Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the rice, replace the lid, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Remove the bay leaves, add the chicken and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
- Check that the rice is done, if it is not, cook another 5 minutes.
- Taste for seasoning, and add more slat, if needed..
- Stir in the cream and dill, and heat through again.
- Serve hot, with a bit of fresh dill for garnish.
- Refrigerate leftovers.
Leftovers make a perfect lunch the next day too!
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