Slow-Cooker Wednesday: Exploded Chicken and Rice Soup

sd530693I am pleased to announce the return of my Slow-Cooker Wednesday series.  My schedule once again has created a night where I won’t get home until late, and I definitely won’t want to cook at that time.  In an effort to keep up with my 2-month resolution Eating at Home More, I decided to reinstate the slow-cooker.  It also helps that the weather has been bitterly cold lately.

Now, in actuality, I use the slow-cooker on Monday nights, but I’ll still post these on Wednesdays.  Also, this wasn’t the first recipe I tried.  The first one was a flop.  It seems that most “traditional” slow cooker dishes end up tasting weird to me, strange spices, strange textures, I just can’t seem to get it to work.  I’ve made my chili in the slow-cooker successfully, so I think it’s just the style of recipe.  So, I’m restricting myself to mostly soups and stews, to see how that goes.

This recipe originally comes from the blog A Year of Slow Cooking.  I made enough modifications to the original that I feel ok listing things here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup chicken, already cooked
  • 1/2 cup rice, uncooked (I used brown long-grain rice)
  • About 4 cups of chicken broth (I used homemade 🙂 )
  • About 1/2 cup water
  • About 1 cup of vegetables (I used onion, celery, and carrot.)
  • Spices

Directions:

Puree the vegetables in a food processor or blender.  You will get a thick multi-colored goop.  Because I only used celery, onion, and carrot, mine looked very orange.  Put all the ingredients in the slow-cooker. Cook on low for as long as you want, at least until rice is soft. Serves 4?

Tastiness Factor:

This is where I explain the title.  I let my soup cook for so long that the rice didn’t really seem like rice anymore.  It had exploded.  I don’t know why, or what I could do for next time, and I actually don’t mind exploded rice.  Flavorwise…pretty good.  Mine needed salt and pepper and was oddly spicy hot.  The original recipe calls for herbs de provence, which I didn’t have.  I used a salt-free Mrs. Dash blend.  Next time I’ll try something else.  Also, you could really taste that the only vegetables I put in were the celery, carrots, and onion.  These are the traditional veggies my grandma put in her chicken soup, so I thought they were good starters.  Next time, I’ll definitely add a wider variety.  Maybe just chop up a stir fry blend or something.

Another big thing about this soup: it seems like it calls for a lot of liquid, but a lot of that ends up getting absorbed by the rice.  My soup ended up more like a gruel.  I don’t mind this, but some people may want something more soup-y.  I’d add more broth after the rice has been cooked.  Also, you want to eat this quickly.  Once it’s cold, it’s not as tasty.  But I think that goes without saying for most soups.

Reheat Factor:

Since the rice is already exploded, this reheats very well.  This is another place where you can thin it out, if you have some water or chicken broth on hand.  It does tend to thicken up in the fridge, again, not sure why.  But the flavor and texture are consistent with the fresh stuff once it’s reheated.

Overall Impression:

Not bad.  It has a lot of room to use leftover veggies, broths, meats, what have you.  Lots of flexibility.  I’d like to try it again, but I have other recipes to work through.  Also, I don’t know how much the original was supposed to make, but I ate this for about three days in a row, at about one to two meals each day.  Andrew didn’t eat any; he doesn’t really like soups.

Nutrition Facts (from here): 171 calories, 2.2g fat, 23.8g carbohydrates, 2.6g fiber, 12.4g protein
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