The Perfect Winter Soup: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice

I had this craving one day a few weeks ago. I needed warm, thick, carb-laden, wholesome chicken soup. I needed celery and carrots and onions swamped in gloopy, glorious chicken soup. I needed it for my soul.

I also needed it to happen in my crockpot, because I had a lot going on that day. I have a lot going on every day just at the moment. Today, I am hunched over the computer while I put together essays on equine anatomy systems. Just maybe, by Friday, I might be done with school. Maybe?

I headed to the one place you can be sure to find crockpot goodness on the internet: Pinterest. It was awash with recipes, but a lot of them had one crucial flaw. Continue reading

Recipe: Spicy cauliflower and carrot soup

Soup soup soup. Yesterday, it was lunchtime and Cowboy had his go-to food of tortillas with melted cheese and some chopped onion (usually he has salsa, but we don’t have any right now). I was hungry, but I’ve been so saturated with American convenience food lately that I just couldn’t face anything that was quick and nutritionally empty.

I raided the fridge. I found: carrots, half an onion that Cowboy had left, a small, radiant, yellow cauliflower that I picked up at the farm shop because it was pretty, and some broccoli with rather more stalk than usual. Soup was the only logical step from there. I’m obsessed with spicy soup.

First, roughly chop the onion and throw in a large saucepan with a good glug of olive oil.

Chunk up the carrots and throw them in too. I didn’t even bother to peel them. Extra fibre!

Chop up the cauliflower and throw the florets in there too. I wanted to save most of the broccoli florets for supper tonight, so I chopped off the stalk, chunked that up and threw it in the pan along with two or three broccoli florets, for a bit of green.Untitled

Fry it all up for a while, and add a good teaspoon or so of curry powder, and about half a teaspoon of turmeric (I wanted to preserve the yellow colour). Cook the spices for a moment.

Add chicken stock – I used just enough to cover the vegetables in the pan – and simmer until the veg is tender.

As a side note, Cowboy and I went to look at some model homes yesterday, as a bit of amusement, and there were several lovely kitchens with roof lights right over the islands, and I thought how lovely it would be to have good light when I’m cooking, rather than squinting under the hood with barely any light at all. One can dream.

When the vegetables are cooked and soft, blend it all up. Mine came out pretty thick when it was blended, and I added a little more water.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then this next part is completely optional – but it will change your life.

OK, life-changing is probably a tiny exaggeration.Untitled

Get out the Sharwood’s Mango Chutney. Fish around in the jar to avoid the chunks of mango, and drop in two good dolloping teaspoons of chutney. Stir it in, it will melt and disappear in moments. What it will leave behind is a hint of tangy, sweet spiciness that goes wonderfully with the cauliflower and curry.

The colour is divine.

It would even make a good curry sauce to pour over chicken and rice instead of a coconut milk based sauce. Not exactly authentic Indian cuisine, but still tasty.

Cowboy had to leave the house at this point, as curry isn’t really his thing.

I snarfed down a bowl of goodness with a crusty white bread roll and butter. It was just the job on a damp and slightly chilly day, and it kept me going until after 9pm. It also satisfied my vague craving for curry without having to leave the house. A win all the way around!

Plenty of leftovers to eat today, which is another classic Pacific Northwest grey and damp day.



Things I learned in the kitchen today

Hello again. I made a few discoveries while I was puttering about in the kitchen today. None were monumental. Here they are:

  1. I am almost out of butter. I cook with butter more than oil. I thought I still had a big Costco pack of butter in the freezer. I do not. The butter shortage is making me nervous.
  2. We need more than one tea infuser for brewing loose leaf tea in a mug. I’m also running lower than I’d like on good teabags from England, so I’m tapping in to the loose leaf supplies. We have one good infuser and one bad infuser. More good ones needed, because washing them out is a pain in the backside.
  3. A single-wide trailer house has a kitchen suitable for preparing foods that come from jars or tins or packets. Less suitable for meals that require more than three ingredients to be out of the cupboards at any one time.
  4. I used to think that Pioneer Woman’s drawers for flour and sugar were excessive and decadent and why on earth would you possibly need easy access to that much flour and sugar? Having tried to make a few things in the kitchen using these ingredients, I now understand. I now aspire to having drawers for flour and sugar.

Then there’s this little gem that I discovered…

I was making cinnamon rolls from scratch for the first time, just to see if I could (hence my angst about the butter shortage), but Pioneer Woman had noted that her recipe made seven tins worth of rolls. I couldn’t fathom what I would do with seven tins of cinnamon rolls, other than spike my blood sugar, so I set about making a batch with half of the recipe. So, discovery number 5?

When halving a recipe, write yourself a note on a fluorescent post-it instructing you to halve all of the ingredients, and stick it on the screen. 

This will prevent the disappointment of stirring together what was promising dough and realizing that I have just added twice as much salt and flour as I was supposed to.

I had to sit and hug the bowl of dough and mourn for a moment, before I threw it away. Lesson learned.