Yeah. It was wild times that fall, people. W-i-l-d.
But I dug the process of it. I like to cook, and I think I inherited my mom's talent and skill in that area, but most of the time I get overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients and instructions that most didn't-buy-anything-in-the-frozen-food-section recipes require. My big culinary standards are my roast chicken (SO easy! And great every time), a carrot and onion side dish I swiped from my friend Matt (seriously, that guy needs to write a cookbook. Handsome, buff, a great husband and father AND ridiculously good in the kitchen? Chelsea won the Life Lotto on that one), and The Carter Family Mashed Potatoes (so good that no butter or gravy is required. NO LIE.). But, the most impressive thing is that those recipes require maybe four or five ingredients, tops.
So I think part of why I got on this big soup kick that fall was that it filled up a lot of my time - researching great recipes online, collecting all the ingredients at the store, and then spending the afternoon slicing and dicing and throwing all of these great things into a pot to cook and simmer while I sipped wine and listened to Van Morrison. It felt homey. Comforting. Even kind of sexy in a way. It was leisure cooking...the kind that you don't have to stress out about or be super technical with. You could just lean into it and relax and take your time.
That fall I perfected a chili recipe, attempted the St. James Hotel's Famous Chicken & Wild Rice Soup (I don't recommend it - way too sweet when homemade), and even tried my hand at a lobster bisque (super good! And surprisingly easy).
The chili is still a staple, but since then I've been looking for a chicken and wild rice soup recipe that I don't hate. When I came across this recipe on Pinterest that had you making the soup in a crockpot...I didn't have high hopes, but figured it was worth a shot.
|From Chef Mommy|
4 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
1 package of Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice
1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Combine broth, water, carrots, celery, mushrooms, chicken and rice (along with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours (or 6 hours, if you wanna do it slow and low).
In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. In medium saucepan over medium to medium-low heat, melt butter. Stir in flour mixture by tablespoon to form a roux (for those not in the know - it's sort of a soft doughy-like mixture). This is the only part where you're going to want to go a little slow and take your time. Whisk in cream, a little at a time (I did this tablespoon by tablespoon, too), until fully incorporated and smooth. Stir cream mixture into slow cooker and then let cook on low for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
And you're done! Pair it with some crusty bread, a glass of red, and the newest episode of New Girl, and you've got The Full Amber Experience.