By Gini Rainey
After taking a bit of a sabbatical over the holidays, I am back to writing my weekly blog. Because of elderly in-laws, a rotten cold, a bout with the flu, and two major holidays falling on my “writing” day, my discipline went smooth out the window. As a result of all that, we were also just too worn out to try and host our annual Christmas Open House for our friends, so last night we had a few friends over for dinner and games. I made a pot of Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and cheddar garlic biscuits. This soup is one of my favorite recipes to make and take to friends who are under the weather. It’s easy to make, very tasty, and fairly nourishing for those on the road to recovery.
Well, imagine my surprise when I was leafing through the cookbook that I chose for today’s blog entry that it has a recipe for Wild Rice Soup very close to the one I use! Beach Appétit, published by the Junior League of The Emerald Coast, Inc. in 2004, was a birthday gift from my husband who wishes he could be on The Emerald Coast (Fort Walton Beach, Florida) during all of our cold weather. This 224 page book, filled with some really amazing recipes, was a fund-raiser that helped to support a wide variety of community service projects primarily geared to improving the lives of women and children in the greater Fort Walton Beach area and have effectively made a difference in that community.
With menu ideas broken down into plan ahead and last minute suggestions, this book would be an excellent addition to anyone’s collection. Running the gamut from soups and salads all the way to infusing vodka with cranberries, sectional breakdowns cover the cocktail hour, holidays, Grecian Heritage, Mardi Gras, romantic rendezvous, sunbathing with sangria, and reasons to celebrate, this book will have you covered! While I do question making the roux for gumbo in a microwave, stuffing snow peas with a crab/celery/bell pepper mix, and Oysters Rockefeller using watercress instead of traditional spinach, I must admit the Crawfish Fettuccini, Filet Mignon with Rum Glaze, Crème Brûlée (with raspberries and strawberries), and Rum Apricot Tart definitely have intrigued me.
So while the book’s recipe for Wild Rice Soup is very close to mine, I want to share mine with you. First, boil a chicken breast (or use two small cans of boneless chicken) until done, drain and cube. Also, prepare a box of Uncle Ben’s© Long Grain and Wild Rice according to package directions and set aside. Then, in a heavy Dutch oven, sauté 1 diced carrot, 1 diced stalk of celery, and ½ diced medium onion in 4 tablespoons of margarine. Stir in 6 tablespoons of flour and gradually add 3 cups of chicken broth, 1 small can of evaporated milk, and 1 cup milk. Over medium heat, stir mixture until it begins to thicken, being careful to not scorch. Reduce heat and stir in the chicken, the rice, 1 small can of sliced or diced mushrooms (drained), ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, ¼ teaspoon crushed basil, and a dash of paprika. It’s ready to eat with the carrots are tender. Serve with crusty French bread or cheddar/garlic biscuits. This is an amazingly simple recipe, but will help you look like a pro in the kitchen. Enjoy!