Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I feel like I can finally welcome winter and Christmas with open arms. As much as I love celebrating all holidays, I don’t like when Christmas starts to bleed into Thanksgiving celebrations and Thanksgiving bleeds into Halloween. Each deserves its own time. I don’t want to shop for Santas at the same time as big scary spiders and decorative tombstones. It just doesn’t feel right to me.
That being said, I love perusing through the Christmas aisles as a “sneak peak” right when they come out to look at all the new decorations… because glitter. And then after the Christmas decorations comes the New Years decorations, and that really is the glitter holiday of the world and everything is black and white and gold and silver, which are some of my favorite colors, and everything has glitter. <3333
But anyway, back to winter settling in.
I’ve always liked winter, but hated the cold (because that makes sense), and as winter slowly sneaks up on us, hot teas, hot soups, and warm fluffy blankets next to fires deserves just as much love as hot summer days with cool, frosty glasses of lemonade. As different as the seasons are, they all deserve our attention for the unique splendor that they provide.
One of my favorite meals as a kid was when my dad would make homemade chicken and rice soup from scratch when the temperature would begin to drop. The house would smell great for hours, and homemade chicken and rice soup is like none other. It is still my favorite things to make, and just like having Turkey on Thanksgiving, soup during winter is necessary to welcome this change of the seasons.
Incidentally, my grandma on my mom’s side loves soup as well, and is an expert at soup making. She makes her own special variation of chicken and rice, but she also makes a killer split pea soup, that tastes so much better than it sounds. I suppose then, from this evidence, that I was bred to be an excellent soup maker and soup eater. I’ll take it.
I regularly make my own soups, and I estimate that I make a batch of homemade soup every other week. I typically make stock from bones that I have saved, because not only does it taste better, but the marrow from bones boosts a myriad of health benefits, which is important to help your body’s immunity during this flu season. I usually have some frozen stock in the freezer so I am able to make soup when the feeling strikes, but I have also found that soup is an excellent way to trick myself into eating more vegetables; I’ll eat almost anything if its disguised by a soup.
For these dropping temperatures and strangely early cold fronts, I’ve created a new soup that I’m quite proud of. It mixes a bit of my Midwestern roots with Southwestern flair. Its perfect to welcome winter, has just a hint of heat, and is perfect in an oversized bowl with a great book and a roaring fire.
Roasted Green Chile and Kale Chicken and Rice Soup
- 8 cups of homemade or low sodium chicken stock*
- 1 lb. leftover shredded roasted chicken (already cooked)
- 1 cup white rice
- 5 whole roasted green chiles, or about ¾ cup**
- 2 cups kale leaves, stems and ribs removed
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
- 5 basil leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, heat chicken stock until at a low boil.
- Add garlic, cumin, crushed red pepper, basil, rice, and chicken. Reduce heat to simmer.
- Dice green chile into small pieces. Add to pot.
- Roughly chop kale until they are in bite sized pieces. Add to pot and continue to cook until rice is thoroughly tender.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, being careful not to over salt.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
*This recipe I've listed here for homemade stock is actually for beef stock, but the directions are the same…except obviously swap out beef bones for chicken bones.
**Green chiles can be difficult to find outside of the southwest, but I do know that they carry them frozen at Trader Joe’s. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s next to you, sub cooked Jalapenos instead.