My sweetie and I had a tradition of smoking meats at Thanksgiving and Christmas until our smoker got stolen a couple years ago. Mercifully, we were able to get another one this year and pick up right where we left off.
The best part for me is, of course, the food. But a nice secondary benefit is I have one less thing taking up space and time in my kitchen. My sweetie handles the meat. I handle the sides and dessert.
I won’t bore you dear readers with all that we made at the two holidays even though I’m still drooling over them. But after Thanksgiving, I told my sweetie we were doing an extra bird at Christmas because I had plans for using it to kick off the new year right.
And ringing in my new If It Fits I Cooks project for 2019: the Dutch oven.
My most important contribution is the addition of slivered almonds for added texture that blends with the wild rice well. Oh, and I used leftover (frozen) carcasses from the Thanksgiving chicken to make a smoky broth that added a little something.
Like most soups, this is difficult to mess up but it is time consuming. Wild rice always takes forever. Chopping veggies — something I weirdly enjoy but many don’t — is also a chore. And then of course simmering long enough for all the flavors to meld.
But it’s January and there’s not much else to do. This is the part where I’d usually say there’s the added benefit of keeping the stove going and warming up, but if you live in central Iowa, that has uh not been much of an issue so far this winter.
Happy New Year lovely readers and I hope you’ll follow me on this foodie adventure again in 2019!
Here’s what I did:
- 2 c. chopped smoked chicken (I didn’t measure but it was roughly the breast meat)
- ¾ c. natural wild rice (uncooked)
- 6 T. unsalted butter
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ c. white wine (preferably Chardonnay)
- ¼ c. all-purpose flour
- 8 c. chicken stock (homemade is best!)
- 1 c. heavy cream
- ½ to 1 c. slivered almonds, to taste
- 2 dried bay leaves
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Add the rice (cleaned, if necessary) to 1 ½ c. water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 25 to 45 minutes. (The wide time range is because mine never seems done at 25 minutes, but it’s good practice to start checking around then and taste testing — it goes in at the end of the soup-making so it needs to be done by the time it’s added.) Strain off any excess liquid.
Meanwhile, in a large Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, carrots, and a little salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, adding the garlic near the end of the saute time. Add the flour slowly and stir until combined, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the wine and bring to a boil (this happens quick in a Dutch oven).
Add the stock, the cream, and the bay leaves. Bring to a simmer. Add the chicken, and cook at a bare simmer for 30 minutes uncovered to meld the flavors together. Add the cooked wild rice and almonds and simmer the soup for another 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, serve, and enjoy!