Chicken and Rice Soup with Celery (Cream-Free)

Chicken and Rice Soup

It is officially hurricane season in Florida and every afternoon we’ve have torrential rains as of late.  I decided to hunker down at home and play with soup recipes (Plus, the Other Half has been out of town so I’ve been cooking two or three new recipes a day).  I had some leftover rice, and half a bunch of celery and a few basic staples, so I decided to create another version of cream-free chicken and rice soup.  Ingredient quantities based on 4 servings:

  • 2 teaspoons Smart Balance Buttery Spread (or your favorite butter, or oil, etc)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3.5 cups chicken broth (reduced sodium)
  • 1 chicken breast, chopped
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • cornstarch
  • freshly ground pepper
  • chives or other fresh herb for garnish

Melt butter in medium-sized saucepan at medium heat and add the veggies.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions because to turn clear (do not brown the veggies).  Add the broth, chicken, rice and bay leaf and bring to a boil before reducing heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the celery is tender.

Mix cornstarch with a small amount of water and add to the soup, simmering an additional 10 minutes or until desired consistency.  Serve with freshly cracked pepper and a garnish such as chives.

UPDATE: We loved this soup so we froze leftovers for another time.  The soup reheats well and tastes great, but the corn starch and rice breaks down a bit, resulting in an equally satisfying chunkier soup or stew.

Roasted Red Bell and Tomato Soup

This is a great cream-free soup that is so versatile that it can be served both as winter warmer and also as a chilled summer soup when served with twists of lime.  Its flavor is intense but delicate and extremely nutritious. I like to change up tomatoes based on what is in season. Last time we used plum and ugly ripe tomatoes.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 freshly roasted red bell peppers, chopped (click for instructions)
  • 4 large tomatoes – peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon white sugar
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Smart Start extra virgin oil buttery sprea
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Juice from ½ lemon
  • Worchester sauce
  • Chopped parsley or green onions for garnish

Heat olive oil over moderate heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato, bell peppers carrots (except reserved), thyme, paprika, and sugar. Cook over medium-low heat until all the tomato juices have evaporated, about 25 minutes.

Stir in vegetable stock, salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, and hot sauce (if using). Bring to boiling, lower heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Strain soup, reserving broth. Place solids in food processor or blender, and process until fairly smooth. Add puree back into broth.

Make a roux by melting butter and stir in the flour, cook for 1 minute. Stirring slowly, add the broth/vegetable mixture. Add reserved chopped pepper and lemon juice and bring to boiling. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.

Swirl in dash of Worchester sauce into each bowl and garnish. Enjoy

Serving suggestion: to enhance colour and give this recipe an additional kick, stir in some tumeric prior to serving.