A couple of months ago, a dear friend of mine stopped by with some soup. I was a bit under the weather and being the thoughtful person she is, she knows soup soothes the soul and lifts the spirits. Jewish grandmothers really had something when they recommended chicken soup as a remedy for everything from the blues to the flu. Studies have been done and it has been proven to make you feel better. I suspect it has more to do with the love that goes into it than the actual ingredients but regardless, it seems to be effective. I recently came across a recipe that appeared very close to the one my friend brought so I decided to modify it a bit using, you guessed it, leftover turkey and my homemade turkey stock. This will be the last of the leftover series, I promise. I used turkey but you can use chicken (fresh or leftover) as was originally intended if you wish.
Let me start by talking a bit about wild rice. Known for its luxurious nutty flavor and chewy texture, it isn’t really a rice at all. It is a long-grain marsh grass native to Northern Great Lakes area. It is the ceremonial legacy of the Sioux and Ojibwe Peoples and has been celebrated in the area for millennia. It takes close to an hour to cook it on top of the stove so I was delighted to learn a no fail, easy way to prepare it. Presented on a local TV station by nutritionist, Donna Weinhofen, here’s how it goes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place raw wild rice in a bowl. Add boiling water (3x the amount of the rice used), cover and place in the oven. Turn to oven off and leave overnight. Perfect every time!
It works! If you make more than you can use at the time, leftovers can be added to salads, stuffings, stir fry’s or used as a side on its own. You can also freeze the leftover rice for future use. One of my favorite breakfasts and a great way to add fiber to your diet is wild rice waffles or pancakes.
That said, let’s get onto the soup. You are going to love this recipe. The toasted almonds along with the wild rice add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor. The use of Amaretto boosts the almond flavor. The end result is luscious and luxurious.
Can you believe how easy it is?
6 c chicken stock (or turkey)
1 1/2 c cooked chicken thighs or breasts, chopped (again, great for leftover turkey or chicken)
2 c cooked wild rice
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/4 c Amaretto liqueur (or 1/4 t almond extract, be careful, it is strong, I like the liqueur better)
1 c slivered almonds, toasted
1 c heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 c Emmentaler cheese, grated
2 T sliced almonds, toasted
2 T flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional, but gives it some color)
- Bring stock to a boil in a large pot.
- Reduce heat to simmer and add the chicken (or turkey), wild rice, lemon juice, and Amaretto. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes.
- Just before serving, add the slivered almonds and cream. Heat through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with grated cheese, sliced almonds and parsley, if using.
That’s all she wrote! Simple and delicious, you can’t go wrong. Leftovers keep for a couple of days and the nuts stay crunchy. Be careful when reheating. Do it gently so the cream doesn’t separate.
One frequently asked question in class is, “how do you toast the nuts?” This is a process I always recommend when including nuts in any recipe. The heat releases the oils and enhances the flavor. This is easily accomplished by placing the nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until they release their aroma and begin to turn golden. Transfer immediately to a plate or bowl to stop the toasting. You can also toast on a baking sheet in a moderate oven but because they burn so easily, I prefer the stove top so I can see what’s happening. It may seem at first like nothing is going on but once they start, the process goes quickly so this is not the time to do laundry, answer the door or make a phone call. Your undivided attention is required, much like when you put bread under the broiler to toast. No worries, we have all done it, and most of us have had that charred mess to dispose of more than once but nuts are a lot more expensive than bread!
Enjoy this recipe and exploring the uses of wild rice. Tell us how you have used this marsh grass.