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Chicken Soup With Rice...

Chicken Soup with Rice

One of my all-time favourite poems is ‘Chicken Soup With Rice‘ by the marvelous Maurice Sendak. I had this book when I was a child and I remember feeling cosy and warm as I read it under the blankets with a flashlight. Sadly it was not amongst my childhood books that had been kept in a Canadian storage container for the past 15+ years. It was most likely sold at a garage sale…or maybe it was lost during one of our many house moves. In any case I still love the poem and am delighted to see the book is still available to purchase….it is currently on my Amazon wish list.

One of my all-time favourite soups is chicken soup with rice. It has been cold and very wet here in the UK this winter (surprise surprise!) and I decided a large bowl of chicken and rice soup was exactly what was needed in order to bring the feeling back into my numb fingers and toes as well as warm my belly! The day before we had a roast chicken dinner, so the chicken carcass was ready to be boiled into a hearty stock. This soup is really simple to make and you can play around with what vegetables, herbs and spices you want to add. I was clearing the fridge so used what I had. Oh and for those of you unfamiliar with Maurice Sendak’s poem I have included it below – read and enjoy…preferably with a large, steaming bowl of chicken soup with rice.


Luna Raye’s Easy Chicken Soup With Rice (serves 4)

For the stock:

1-cooked leftover chicken carcass (mine was from a Sunday roast and had been seasoned with garlic, rosemary and fresh lemon)

3-celery stalks, roughly chopped

2-Spanish onions, peeled and quartered

1-cup shredded white cabbage

3-cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3-bay leaves

9-whole peppercorns

3-sprigs of sage

1-teaspoon salt (I used M. de Turenne ‘Sel O Vin Blanc’ – white wine flavoured salt)

For the stock:

Add all the ingredients into a large saucepan and cover with 2800 ml (about 3 quarts) of cold water

Bring to boil and then immediately reduce heat

Allow stock to gently simmer, uncovered for 1.5 – 2 hours

Skim off any foam that comes to the surface

Remove the bones and strain the stock into a large bowl

Now here the comes the messy part…. I sift through the mesh strainer and pick out all the meaty chicken bits, including the skin. I also keep an eye out for small bones and tough gristly bits which I discard. Keep the chicken pieces to one side, separate from the stock, and get ready to make some fantastic soup!


Ingredients for Chicken Soup with Rice

1500ml (just over 1.5 quarts) of beautiful homemade chicken stock (of course you can always use store bought to make things easier)

1-cup cooked chicken (this is how much I ended up with, but it may vary depending on how much meat was left on your chicken)

1-Tablespoon olive oil

3-medium leeks, chopped

2-stalks celery, chopped

9-green beans, cut into quarters

2-cloves garlic, minced

1-cup uncooked long-grain white rice

salt and pepper to taste


Directions for Chicken Soup With Rice

Add olive oil to a large saucepan and gently sauté the leeks and celery for about 2-3 minutes

Add minced garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper and give everything a good stir

Add the green beans and chicken pieces and stir to combine

Add all the stock and bring everything to a gentle boil before reducing the heat

Add the rice and allow the soup to simmer for about 25-30 minutes or until the rice is tender

Check your seasoning and add any additional salt if needed

I do recommend giving the soup another crack of fresh black pepper before serving up

Enjoy it once! Enjoy it twice! Enjoy your chicken soup with rice!


Chicken Soup With Rice

In January it’s so nice, while slipping on the sliding ice,

To sip hot chicken soup with rice.

Slipping once, sipping twice, sipping chicken soup with rice.


In February it will be my snowman’s anniversary,

With cake for him and soup for me!

Happy once, happy twice, happy chicken soup with rice.


In March the wind blows down the door and spill my soup upon the floor.

It laps it up and roars for more.

Blowing once, blowing twice, blowing chicken soup with rice.


In April I will go away, to far-off Spain or old Bombay,

And dream about hot soup all day.

Oh my once, oh my twice, oh my chicken soup with rice.


In May I truly think it best to be a robin lightly dressed,

Concocting soup inside my nest.

Mix it once, mix it twice, mix that chicken soup with rice.


In June I saw a charming group of roses all begin to droop.

I pepped them up with chicken soup!

Sprinkle once, sprinkle twice, sprinkle chicken soup with rice.


In July I’ll take a peep into the cool and fishy deep,

Where chicken soup is selling cheap,

Selling once, selling twice, selling chicken soup with rice.  


In August it will be so hot, I will become a cooking pot.

Cooking soup of course.  Why not?

Cooking once, cooking twice, cooking chicken soup with rice.


In September for a while, I will ride a crocodile

Down the chicken soupy Nile.

Paddle once, paddle twice, paddle chicken soup with rice


In October I’ll be host to witches, goblins, and a ghost.

I’ll serve them chicken soup on toast.

Whoopy once, whoopy twice, whoopy chicken soup with rice.


In November’s gusty gale I will flop my flippy tail

And spout hot soup.  I’ll be a whale!

Spouting once, spouting twice, spouting chicken soup with rice.


In December I will be a baubled, bangled Christmas tree

With soup bowls draped all over me.

Merry once, merry twice, merry chicken soup with rice.


Merry chicken soup with merry chicken soup with merry chicken soup with rice.

I told you once, I told you twice all seasons of the year are nice for eating chicken soup, eating chicken soup with rice!

(Chicken soup, chicken soup with rice.)

Maurice Sendak


Sweet Potato And Black Bean Soup: Magic In A Bowl...

“Soup is the song of the hearth… and the home.”
Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)

There is nothing quite like a bowl of home made soup on a cold rainy Autumnal day. Usually when making soup I take my time; allowing things to gently simmer for hours, enjoying the process of flavours developing and coming together and breathing in the rich aroma of herbs and spices as they fill my kitchen. For me making soup is very much like brewing up a magic potion. It is a sacred ritual and something to be savoured – I enjoy the process as much as I enjoy eating the soup!

However I do understand that sometimes you just want to curl yourself round a big comforting bowl of soup as quickly as you can. That was certainly the case for me when I went out for a weekend walk and got caught in a sudden downpour. With no where to hide and no umbrella, I got soaked. By the time I got home I was chilled to the bone and to be honest, was also slightly cranky. What I needed was the powerful healing magic of soup!

Fortunately earlier on in the week I bought ingredients to make Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup. While browsing the Spark People website, this recipe shared by member SOUSRATURE, caught my eye. It is extremely healthy, uses an ingredient (black beans or turtle beans) which I have never used before and takes all of 20 minutes to prepare and cook. It did take me a little longer as I don’t have a hand held blender so had to transfer some of the soup into my glass blender. Still the soup was on the table within 30 minutes!

I had always been under the assumption that soup needed to bubble away for ages in order for deep flavours to develop and emerge but this soup was one of the most delicious I have ever tasted. The only changes I made was to use a Spanish Onion, add a pinch of nutmeg (of course) and an extra clove of garlic.
This is definitely a dish I will make again and again. If you love good wholesome tasty soup then do yourself a favour and get in your kitchen and brew up this magical recipe. I promise you’ll love it!

Here is Sousrature’s recipe as seen on Spark People:

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup


2 med. sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 cup of rinsed black beans

1 cup sweet vidalia onion, finely chopped

1 tsp chopped garlic

3 cups veggie broth

1-2 bay leaves

.5 tsp cinnamon


Lightly spray bottom of sauce pan with olive oil and sweat the onion and garlic over low heat.

Add chopped sweet potatoes and beans and cook briefly.

Add water, 3 vegetable bouillon cubes, cinnamon and bay leaf. Turn up heat slightly and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes soften.

Remove bay leaf and blend just a bit with hand blender–be sure to leave some nice big chunks of sweet potato for contrast. Pop it back over the heat for a minute, then serve with an optional sprinkling of brown sugar and/or dollop of light sour cream on top.

Full of fiber, protein, and vitamins, this soup is filling enough to be a stand-alone meal! The black beans and orange sweet potatoes also look great together. (Tip: Use low-sodium broth to cut the salt content.)

Number of Servings: 2

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Soup

My Grandmother’s Spinach Soup Served with Hard B...

My Grandmother is an excellent cook and I absolutely adore her food! Every meal she prepares is done so with love and care and is always full of the most beautiful flavours. A few years back when my husband and I were visiting Canada, she made this spinach soup and it has been on our minds ever since. I finally got a hold of the recipe and thought this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. It was just as good as I remembered although I did go a tad heavy on the salt. Never mind, next time I will be much more careful!

This soup makes a great lunch or light supper and it can even be used as an elegant starter – although I haven’t quite mastered the art of making a pretty flower out of hard boiled eggs yet (but I will keep working it!)

So here it is Raija’s Spinach Soup.


1 large Spanish onion finely chopped.

350 – 400 grams of fresh spinach well washed.

1 ½ – 2 tsp butter or a drizzle of olive oil (for sweating the onion).

2 Tbsp butter for making a roux.

2 Tbsp flour.

Chicken stock (approx 2 ½ – 3 cups) – I used Vegetable stock for mine.

Double cream.

Pinch of nutmeg.

1 clove minced garlic (optional).

Pinch of white sugar which helps give the soup some smoothness.

4 hard boiled eggs.


Melt the 1 ½ – 2 tsp or drizzle of olive oil in a pan. Be careful not to let the pan get too hot if you’re using butter as it may burn.

Add the finely chopped onion and mix well. Put a lid on the pot and allow the onion to sweat for a few minutes. Don’t let the onion get any colour. (I read somewhere that adding salt will prevent the onion from colouring and this is where I went wrong with my seasoning – I added too much salt at this stage! – so be careful).

In a second pot heat the spinach carefully – don’t add any water, butter or oil to the pot. The moisture in the spinach will be enough. The spinach should just go very slightly limp.

Once the spinach is just limp remove it from the pot and squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can.

Chop the spinach into small pieces and set aside.

Now it’s time to begin the roux. In another pot melt the 2 Tbsp of butter and then add the flour.

Do not let this mixture turn brown. Keep it on a moderate heat and gradually add the stock.

Mix it well and allow it to cook for approximately 3-5 minutes as you stir continuously.

Add the chopped spinach and onion to this mixture. Allow it to cook gently for another 5 minutes or so.

You can grate some nutmeg into it, or add some minced garlic at this stage. Also a pinch of white sugar will help give the soup some smoothness.

While the soup is cooking you can prepare the hard boiled eggs. Peel them and cut into halves or quarters.

When you just about ready to serve the soup stir in a good drizzle of double cream and mix well.

Serve with some freshly ground black pepper and the hard boiled eggs pieces arranged in the form of a flower.


Or as my Grandmother would say in Finnish


Spinach ready – now it’s time to make the roux!

White Bean and Vegetable Soup....

It’s easy to get stuck in the cooking comfort zone. It has happened to me many times. I suddenly realize I have a weekly rotation of the same (or very similar) dishes and it’s been ages since I tried anything new. While it’s great to enjoy your favourite meals it’s also important to branch out and try new ingredients, a variety of cuisines and different cooking techniques.

You really don’t know what you’ve been missing until you’ve tried it and for me cook books are a wonderful source of inspiration. I could look at them all day! For Christmas a friend bought my husband and I Gordon Ramsay’s World Kitchen. It is a great book full of recipes from around the world.

What caught our eye right away was a recipe for White Bean and Vegetable Soup (see Gordon in action here). This was such an easy dish to make and it was packed full of flavour. The sprinkling of feta on top is a nice touch, adding saltiness and a lovely creamy texture to the soup.

We have already selected more recipes to try and are determined to make our way through the whole book. Cook books are a great way to increase your cooking repertoire and bring a bit more inspiration into your kitchen!