Okay, new year resolution time, right? Me? I never make it more than a few weeks with those, so I typically just say something like, “I’m going to try to do better with X this year.” Be it fitness, healthy eating, house keeping, etc., I do always try SOMETHING. But usually, after a few weeks, I fall back into my normal routine. But in a fit of trying to eat healthier, I experimented with a few soups and stews this year so if you want a healthy and comforting winter meal, you have come to the right place.
I LOVE chicken and rice soup. Even better if it’s nice and creamy. But that’s a lot of carbs and a lot of fat (and a lot of yumminess, if you want the truth) but we are starting on the right foot this year, right? So I tried slimming down my favorite combo a bit and jazzed it up with some Thai inspired flavors. The wild rice is a lot less carbolicious than regular white rice and has a lot more texture. This soup still ends up being warm and comforting but with a little more zing than a same-old-same-old chicken soup.
This recipe uses a lot of standard soup ingredients but also a couple of short cuts and funky Asian ingredients. I keep homemade chicken stock in my freezer most of the time but, as we’d just come off the holidays and I’d used up all of my freezer stock, I used a box of low-sodium chicken broth from the supermarket. I’ve also used some leftover shredded chicken here but you could always pick up a rotisserie chicken at the supermarket. Often, if I’m roasting a chicken for a meal, I’ll go ahead and roast two and shred one up to freeze and use later in enchiladas, soups, casseroles, etc. It’s a great time saver and a lot cheaper than a rotisserie chicken!
Thai Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 1/2 large white or yellow onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 inch ginger, minced (or 1 T from the handy dandy tube of ginger paste from the produce section)
- 1 stalk lemon grass (if you can’t get this, no big deal, just skip it)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced (plus another for garnish)
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1 32 oz box low sodium or unsalted chicken broth (or homemade)
- 2 T red or green curry paste (you can find this on the Asian foods aisle or at any Asian grocery store)
- 1/2 t fish sauce (optional)
- 1/2 C wild rice
- 2 C shredded, cooked chicken
- 1 can coconut milk (light is fine here)
- 1-2 C chopped kale (chopped small enough to not be in huge pieces on your soup spoon)
- 1 handful chopped cilantro (plus extra for garnish)
- 1 T sriracha
- salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh chopped cilantro, sliced jalapenos and lime wedges for garnish.
Heat oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, red pepper, and jalapeno and saute until onions are just translucent, about 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and carrots and continue to saute another minute or two. Add chicken stock and lemon grass and bring to a simmer (add water if it doesn’t look like enough liquid to you). Stir in curry paste and fish sauce (if using) until well combined. Add wild rice and cover pot, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. Remove lemon grass and stir in chicken, kale, cilantro and coconut milk and continue to simmer for about 15 minutes more or until wild rice is tender. Stir in sriracha then taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Serve in big bowls garnished with a little cilantro, jalapeno slices, and lime wedges.