Chicken-Rice Soup With Leek

Preparations:

In preparing this soup I go to the Farmer’s Market and buy three large leeks, and a dozen or more medium to large size Roma tomatoes. Alternatively, it’s toward the end of the growing season and I have plenty of fresh leeks and Roma tomatoes coming out of the garden. I also need garlic, a small red onion, celery stalks, small carrots, the beans from at least two small packages of edamame (soy beans), and fresh or dried spices (tarragon, basil and parsley), and a tsp pf dry caraway seeds. Perhaps some of these ingredients will come fresh from the garden as well.

You will also need 3-4 cups of chicken stock and about a half pound or more of cut-up and previously cooked chicken. You can buy the stock and one or two chicken breasts and go from there. Alternatively, you can make the chicken stock and the chicken from scratch by buying and roasting a chicken. If you do that, buy a chicken from a local farmer or one at least that has not been factory-farm-raised with hormonal, antibiotic additives — one that tastes like chickens used to taste, and may yet taste that way again. I do that and have a good meal from the roasted chicken and then cut off the remaining meat and use the bones to make 3-4 cups of stock for the soup while saving some of the chicken for addition to the soup later:

Chicken Stock:

Add the chicken bones to 4-5 cups of water and boil slowly uncovered for about an hour. You can add about 8-10 peppercorns a stalk of celery and a few baby carrots, and later discard the bones and these additives after filtering or decanting the stock from them. Set aside the stock and prepare the stewed tomatoes from about a dozen fresh Roma tomatoes:

Stewed Tomatoes:

First, quarter a dozen Roma tomatoes. Remove the seeds and skins with a sharp knife and collect the tomatoes in a sauce pan. Add a tsp of salt, cover and heat slowly under low-medium heat. Separately, finely cut and dice a large celery stalk, five to six cloves of garlic (use more if cloves are small), and about a third of a large red onion. Mix these ingredients and saute them lightly in a little olive oil and add the mixture to the smoothly boiling tomatoes, stirring in the sauteed mixture initially and then occasionally stirring several times over the next half hour while continuing to cook the tomatoes.

The Soup:

Add a large handful of wild rice to the chicken stock and boil under low heat covered for about half an hour. Then, add about half of the stewed tomatoes to the chicken stock-rice mix and freeze the remaining half of the stewed tomatoes for use later with another dish.

To the soup add the following mixture of cut vegetables: the white, blanched ends of three large leeks cut into small slices; a dozen small carrots and 3-4 celery stalks both cut into small slices; and about a cup of freshly steamed edamame (soy) beans shucked from their pods. Boil the rice-stewed-tomatoes-vegetable mix for another 15-20 minutes to finish cooking the rice and added vegetables. About 5-10 minutes before the end add about 1/2 to 3/4 pound of cut-up, previously cooked chicken cut in small pieces but not finely chopped. Stop the boiling and add at least a tsp each of dried basil, parsley and tarragon. If these spices are fresh, cut them up finely and add but in larger amounts (about doubling). Add also a tsp of dry caraway seeds. Stop heating, cover and stir occasionally the let the spice/herb flavors blend into the soup.

Dish up, add salt and pepper to taste (minimal as the spices will carry the flavor, and some salt you will note has been added along the way). Serve with toasted whole grain bread.

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