Monday, February 25, 2008

I Am My Own Mother

After weeks of avoiding the dozens of viruses flying around Fox Valley like so many golden snitches, it appears tonight that I've finally succumbed to one. Either that, or a bale of hay has taken up residence in my throat and chest.

I know, of course, exactly where this bug must have come from: the talent show. (It's the volunteer commitment that just keeps on giving.) Not that it matters. Wherever they came from, these germs are mine to deal with now.

It's times like these when a girl needs chicken soup, preferably cooked by someone else, ideally her mother. But my mother's several states away, and she wouldn't be a source of soup even if she lived next door. My mother -- under most circumstances a woman of incredible intelligence --is one of those people who reaches for antibiotics at the first sign of a cold. I suspect that she is the largest single consumer of Z-paks in the southeastern United States.

Nor were any other chicken soup cooks available tonight. My husband does many things around this place, but cooking is not one of them. Back in his bachelor days, he and a housemate learned how to make two things: spaghetti and chicken thighs. One night it was spaghetti, the next it was chicken thighs, then back to spaghetti, and so on. (If they wanted variety, they plopped some cottage cheese on top of the spaghetti and called it lasagna.) Our marriage has yet to provide Bob the opportunity to expand his repertoire, and I've yet to be both sick and in the mood for either of the dishes in it..

My kids love to cook, as long as it's expensive, unhealthy, and requires the dirtying of many dishes. Chicken soup would not interest them. Besides, they had play practice tonight.

So it was clear that if I wanted chicken soup over the next few days, I was going to have to make it myself. So I did. I made some chicken broth (I don't know if science backs this up, but it seems to me that there's bound to be more of whatever is cold-fighting in homemade chicken broth than in Swanson's) and then I made the following soup. This recipe serves 10, which means it should last me until my cold is better. In the meantime, the rest of my family can eat spaghetti and chicken thighs.

CHICKEN, MUSHROOM, AND WILD RICE SOUP

5 T. butter (normally I'd substitute olive oil but when I feel bad I want the real stuff)
1 c. (or more) sliced mushrooms
1 c. chopped onion
1 c. (or more) chopped celery (be sure to chop up a bunch of the leaves because that's where the flavor is)
1/3 c. flour
6 c. chicken broth (homemade stuff, or the Swanson's kind from the box)
1 c. half and half (since I went with butter, I had to use the fat free half and half)
salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste (just a pinch of cayenne -- this isn't Mexican, for gosh sakes)
a pound or more of cooked chicken, mostly white meat, shredded
a box of Uncle Ben's long and wild rice mix, cooked with the seasoning packet according to directions
2 T. dry white wine (I'm all for wine, but don't go pouring in a cup or anything -- 2 T. is perfect)

Melt the butter in a soup pot. Cook the mushrooms until they're tender. Add the onion and celery and cook until tender.
Sprinkle in the flour, stir, and let it cook two or three minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and wine, and season to taste. Cook a few minutes until it thickens a little. Mix in the chicken and the cooked rice. When everything's heated through, turn off the heat (actually you can just turn it real low if you use regular half and half), and mix in the half and half. Serve and feel better.

1 comment:

TX Poppet said...

This recipe looks yummy! Found you via Hotfesional. Glad I did.