Soup season is before us. Especially in a gray Seattle, with overcast skies and rainfalls, a mug of something warm can make up for the lack of sun.
Black rice adds anti-oxidants and iron, while chicken add protein, making for a very comforting, very delicious, and very filling soup.
In my mind, I was initially planning to make a very creamy soup, but after being unsuccessful in finding the heavy cream (new neighborhood, new supermarket, bizarre aisle organization), I picked up a box of Pacific Organic condensed cream of mushroom instead. I was in the middle of reading Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential at the time, and recalled his cunning stunt, sneaking a bouillon cube in his stock in class back in his days at the Culinary Institute of America. He made the best stock in class every time. So, I thought, indulgently creamy or not, maybe something good will come of this. I sure think it did.
for the rice:
1/3 lb black rice, preferably soaked either overnight or for a couple of hours
1 lemon, for juice and rind
1/2 bunch parsley, rinsed
3 stalks of celery
4 medium sized carrots
2 organic chicken breasts
1 liter chicken stock or broth
**1 12oz box of cream of mushroom condensed soup
** Optional. Use two if you want to achieve a creamier, richer soup, or for a lighter, healthier version, leave it out altogether.
Dice chicken breasts and lightly brown in a heavy bottomed soup pot with some salt, pepper, and a touch of turmeric. Add diced onion, celery, and carrots, more salt and black pepper. Stir. Let the vegetables sweat. Then, add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let soup simmer for 2 hours. Add the condensed cream of mushroom soup, bring back to a boil and stir.
In the meanwhile, cook rice according to packaging. I use 2 parts liquid for every 1 cup of black rice. Finely chop parsley and add to rice cooled to room temperature, along with the rind and juice of one lemon. Mix together and set aside.
Keep the soup warm on low heat until ready to serve. Spoon a helping of the rice mixture in each individual bowl, and top with the soup. Do not add rice to the entire pot of soup, unless you are sure the entire pot will be devoured, otherwise, you’ll have mush for leftovers. No one likes mush.