Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chicken Soup With Rice, Lemon, Dill and Red Pepper Flakes


When I taught school in a small Indiana town, a Greek family opened a small restaurant and made a wonderful chicken soup with dill, lemon and red pepper. Sometimes it had  meat, sometimes it didn't. After trial and error, the following is pretty close. 

  • 6 cups homemade chicken stock  Kitchen Bounty: Chicken/Turkey Stock
  • 1 stalk celery cut up/diced
  • 1 1/2 peeled carrots, thick parts cut lengthwise and then thinly sliced
  • A few pinches of dried thyme flakes
  • 1-3 teaspoons Kosher salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon or so of dried minced onion (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced fresh garlic
  • 3-4 strips of lemon zest (or to taste) that has been peeled with a vegetable peeler
  • A few pinches red pepper flakes
  • 6-8 tablespoons raw, white, long grained rice that has been washed and rinsed in a sieve under cold water until the water runs clear. Or use Orzo.


Bring the above ingredients just until they begin to boil. Lower to a simmer and cover for 40 minutes or so, stirring occasionally and tasting and seasoning as you go.

Add about a heaping 1-3 teaspoons of dried dill. Stir. Turn onto the lowest setting and just let the soup sit partially covered so all the flavors blend.


NOTES:
Rinse the rice to get rid of the starch that can interfere with the broth’s taste.

By all means go ahead and use fresh dill, especially as a garnish, but you will need several teaspoons. Place leftover dill between paper towels to dry and store in a leftover spice jar. This works well with any fresh herb.

Begin with just a pinch or two of red pepper flakes—you can always add more. It will take a while for the “heat” of the flakes to be released into the soup as it simmers, so keep that in mind before deciding to add more.