The South is taking too many cues from Northern winters and forgetting that people like me choose to live here for a reason. I do not approve of winter temperatures hovering significantly under 50 degrees (I'm spoiled, I know), except that it makes soup taste extra soul-warming.
I tend to stereotype chicken soups as being somewhat bland. However, if you cook up some fresh veggies first and throw in a bit of half and half at the end for this one, it won't disappoint fans of fresh-tasting, flavorful soups.
Necessity: Warm, crusty bread.
Bonus: Bakery cranberry bread a very nice person brought home for me.
The wild rice adds a nutty flavor to this thick (not very broth-y) concoction, but the other ingredients keep it from being too overpowering.
Tell me, friends, what are you making to warm you up on dreary winter days? (Yes, this is a comment request, pretty please.)
Wild Rice and Chicken Soup
Oak Grove Market via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
In a pot, cover chicken with broth and water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until chicken is just cooked through. Skim off any scum that appears on the surface and discard. Remove chicken from broth, let cool slightly and shred into bite-size pieces. Reserve broth.
In a stockpot, melt olive oil. Add celery, carrot, onion and green pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until blended. Add wild rice, chicken and reserved broth and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add half-and-half and parsley. Cook just until hot; do not boil. Top each serving with toasted almonds, if desired.