From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Tonight's featured recipe is meant for those still caught in the throes of winter. It is a lovely creamy soup that's substantial enough to be considered as a main course. The soup is as easy to make as it is kind on the pocketbook, and I think those of you who try it will end up adding it to your pennywise recipe collection. This version of the soup was inspired by one that I found on the blog Iowa Girl Eats. The original recipe is wonderful, but I have a couple of suggestions that I think will make it even more enjoyable. I do not have great luck when adding uncooked rice or noodles to soup stock. I always, and I mean always, manage to overcook the rice or noodles and end up with a goopy mess that is less than appetizing to the palate or the eyes. I've learned I can avoid the problem by cooking the rice or noodles separately and adding when them to the soup near the end of cooking. I've been deliberately vague about the cheese that's used in the soup. I like to use Parmesan, but one of my church ladies, obviously on a very limited budget, uses Velvetta and raves about the results she achieves. All of which goes to say that this is a soup that does not need expensive ingredients to be successful, so feel free to use whatever cheese you like or have on hand. This is also a difficult soup to spoil. Do, however, be aware that as the soup sits the rice will act like a sponge and soak up the creamy stock, so keep enough milk or stock on hand to thin it if it becomes necessary. It is important to simmer the soup for at least 10 minutes after adding flour to it. This "cooks" the flour and assures there is no raw flour taste in the finished soup. This is a dish I know all of you will enjoy. Do try it! Here is how this inexpensive soup is made.
Cheesy Chicken Rice Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Iowa Girl Eats
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup finely diced carrots
1/2 cup finely diced celery
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups diced cooked chicken
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups skim milk, divided
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Optional: 2 x 2-inch piece Parmesan cheese rind
1 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup flour
1 cup grated cheese
1) Melt butter and oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery, season with salt and pepper, then saute for 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add garlic cloves then cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Add chicken, season with more salt and pepper if needed, then stir to combine.
Add chicken broth, 1-3/4 cups milk, bay leaf, thyme and Parmesan cheese rind, if using, to pot. Turn heat up to bring to a boil then add rice and stir to combine. Place a lid on top then turn heat down to medium-low and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender.
2) In a small bowl whisk together remaining 1/4 cup milk with flour. Slowly pour into soup, stir to combine, then cook uncovered for 10 more minutes. Turn off heat and remove pot from burner then add cheese and stir until smooth. Let soup sit and thicken for 10 minutes then serve. Yield: 8 servings.
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