Brrrrrrrrr! If you live in the midwest right now, you know we’re seeing some of the coldest temperatures in ages. School was cancelled Monday and Tuesday due to the wind chills which dipped down to -50 in some parts of the state. We do live in the midwest and it is the winter, so I’m not going to complain. But BRRRRRRR!!! We’ve kept our distance from the perimeter of our outside walls because the chill is so tangible in our house. EEK!
That being said, I have a confession. We are those people in the neighborhood. It’s true. I’ve yet to remove the gourds from the porch. Um, ewe. I dumped the rotting pumpkins around Thanksgiving, but the gourds were so cute… and then it got cold…. and then it snowed…. and then we flew to Kansas…. and then it was Christmas…. and then…. I know. I’ll get right on that (…when it warms up).
These cold temps make soup taste soooo delicious, so I want to share with you one of our favorites, Hearty Chicken and Rice. The original recipe comes from my sister-in-law, Iowa Girl Eats. Her Chicken and Wild Rice Soup recipe was a huge hit with us last year for 2 reasons.
One, it’s stinkin’ delicious and easily made allergy-friendly (which I’ll share today), and two, it was the perfect dish to throw in our Beaba BabyCook so that Evie was eating the same scrumptious food we were. And let me tell you, girlfriend scarfed this down whenever it was served! So if you have babies in the house, this is the perfect dish to turn into a delicious puree.
People often ask about recipes they’ve loved and how to “make them” allergy-friendly. That’s one of the reasons I’m featuring this soup today. This is a perfect example of how to take a “regular” recipe and adapt it to your needs. I remember when Finn was first diagnosed with food allergies, I panicked when it came to meal-making. I searched for dairy-free and egg-free meals and came up short on anything that sounded appealing. I would see anything with “butter” or “milk” listed and automatically nix it. This made life tough for awhile!
What I realized over time is that once you have your new staples on hand, you can transform any “regular” dish into a “safe” dish for your family with a few swaps. Of course things like “cheesy enchiladas” are off our list, but there are so many options available to make meals easy for your allergy-needs. Have a favorite recipe you can’t quite figure out? Share it in the comments and we’ll see what we can do.
The as-is recipe is 100% yum, but we like our soup hearty, so we added more spices and veggies, and offer a few super easy swaps to make the recipe dairy-free. I always plan to start this recipe around 4:30p for a 6p dinner. It isn’t labor intense, but it does take a little time to cook the rice and chicken, so plan for a Saturday lunch or Sunday dinner, if you must. The most hands-on work you’ll need to do is chopping the veggies. Easy peasy.
This time around we chose a Rice Medley option from Whole Foods, but we’ve also used verified gluten-free brown and verified gluten-free wild rice option with the same amazing results. Rice in all forms is gluten-free, but be sure to read labels carefully for any blends you purchase. There might be a non-rice gluten wheat piece added, so as all allergy moms know, read labels twice! That being said, if you need gluten-free or grain-free, choose the best option for your needs. Just one simple request? Do not use minute rice. In fact, can we just make a pact to NEVER eat minute rice again?
Because this recipe uses flour to “thicken up” the base, using a gluten-free all purpose flour is fine. I wouldn’t use a different gluten-free flour like almond flour for something like this. Keep it simple. If you aren’t gluten-free, use whole wheat.
I’m not usually a big fan of left-overs (who is, really?), and I’m not a big fan of using the microwave if another option is available. Another reason to love this soup? This is just as tasty reheated as it is straight out of the pot. Just put a hearty helping in a pot on the stove, add a little chicken broth or stock and warm on medium heat to your preferred temperature.
A knock-out winter soup, easily made allergy-friendly. Way to go, IGE!
Hearty Chicken and Rice Soup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60-70 minutes
Keywords: dinner soup/stew lunch dairy-free gluten-free peanut-free chicken rice winter
- 3 tablespoons Earth Balance (dairy-free butter) OR grape seed oil
- 1 large shallot, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 3 small carrots, chopped
- salt + pepper (be generous)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
- 8 cups organic chicken stock or broth
- 1 lb. chicken breasts, trimmed and cut in half
- 1 cup wild rice blend or brown rice (double check labels if gluten-free for any blends)
- 1 cup almond or rice milk
- 1/4 cup whole wheat or gluten-free all purpose flour
Melt 2T butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Generously season with salt + pepper. Sauté 8 minutes.
Add additional 1T butter, garlic, thyme, basil. Sauté for an additional minute.
Add organic chicken broth/stock and increase to high heat. Bring to a boil.
Add chicken and cook until no longer pink in the center, 8-10 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Shred when cool enough to handle.
Add rice to the pot and another dash of salt + pepper. Place a lid on top. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 40-50 minutes, until rice is tender.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup almond milk with flour until smooth then add remaining milk. Slowly drizzle into soup while stirring.
Add chicken back to pot and simmer soup for 10 more minutes uncovered.
Dinner is served!