Sometimes the best meal is the one you made impromptu with whatever you find in your fridge.
As I have mentioned previously, shopping during Ramadan can be quite a feat. That, and because the boy is away for ten days, and because I simply wanted to challenge myself to be creative, and clean out the fridge and the very overstocked pantry too. So here are the rules of this challenge:
– This is a week post-BBQ. So we have some leftover grilled veggies, some root vegetables, a watermelon, 1/2 a jar of chickpeas, and plenty of eggs. I am to use up the perishables first, combined with some stable items.
– I can also use anything in the freezer and in the pantry. I routinely buy chicken breast pieces, wrap them individually then seal them in a freeze-safe bag. I also have frozen homemade turkey stock on hand.
– The meals have to be healthy, have variety, and most of all easy to make on a weekday night.
So… here we go, the first recipe of the series and the slightly more complicated one:
Best Leftover Tur-chicken Brown Rice Soup
This is the most versatile and best tasting creamy turkey/chicken rice soup, and it takes no time at all to do in a pressure cooker. I first made it after Thanksgiving when I had two turkey carcasses and a bunch of root vegetables left in the fridge. I found this great recipe on Allrecipe.com and did my own version and both the boy and I loved it. I couldn’t find the same recipe again this time around so I made this out of memory and again with whatever was on hand, and it tasted even better than I remembered! But I will be honest this is really a winter recipe. Like, who wants a hearty bowl of chicken rice soup in 50 degrees heat? well I do! In fact I can have this soup any time of the year and for a whole week straight too (and I did).
Ingredients: (this made about 8 servings)
One onion, chopped
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp butter or chicken grease
any leftover vegetables in your fridge, root vegetables are the best. I used:
4 large mushrooms
one large chili pepper
4 stalks celery
2 tbsp flour
1 L turkey or chicken stock (I have a batch I made awhile ago and froze)
~1 cup water for the desired consistency
1 piece raw chicken breast or cooked leftover turkey meat
pinch of spices (oregano, basil leaves, Italian seasoning)
pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped green onions or cilantro or parsley, divided
yogurt/half-and-half or sour cream (optional)
What you do: (Total time – 45 minutes)
1. Heat up the canola oil in a pressure cooker or a large soup pot on medium high heat and start cooking the onions until soft.
2. Add all the vegetables and stir fry for about 3 minutes. Add the butter/chicken grease until melted and add the flour, quickly mix on medium heat until slightly brown.
3. Add the stock slowly while stirring to get a creamy consistency. Add the brown rice and more water to the desired consistency.
4. Add the raw chicken breast now (if you are using cooked leftover turkey meat save it for step 8.)
5. Put the lid on and cook on the highest setting until pressure is reached (My p.c. has high/low settings and I set mine on low for vegetables), then turn down to a simmer. Set the timer for 15 minutes. If you are using a traditional pot, quadruple the cooking time.
6. Let the pressure come down by removing the pot from the heat and releasing the valve. Remove the chicken and let it cool on a cutting board.
7. Give the soup a stir and cook again for another 5 minutes. (20 minutes if you are using a regular pot)
8. After the soup is done, chop the chicken into bite-size chunks (or use the leftover turkey meat) and add to the soup, along with half of the chopped herb. Let cook for another 3~5 minutes on the stove until the rice is soft and the soup is creamy.
9. Serve with a dollop of yogurt/half-and-half/sour cream and some fresh herbs.
Now grab and blanket, turn on Game of Thrones, and enjoy this hearty soup full of veggie goodness that is a complete meal on its own.
Recipes to come:
Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas
Fresh Watermelon Slush
Chorizo and Roasted Vegetables Pasta
Poached Egg Soba Noodles with Nori