Ground Chicken, Kale and Brown Rice Soup
Never mind that we just experienced one of the hottest weekends in Southern California and it was 93º today and currently 80º at 9:30 PM. My sore throat from last week disappeared mid-week, only to return on Friday and nag me throughout the weekend. I’m not exactly feeling sick, but I just can’t get rid of this sore throat and this morning I woke up with just a slight scratchiness in my throat, which is a significant improvement, but it was enough to compel me to make a big batch of soup today… with my air conditioner blasting.
I started making this gorgeous soup at noon today, with the hopes of enjoying it for a late lunch, but alas I ate leftovers for lunch and enjoyed a bowl of soup as my afternoon snack. AND this soup and a light salad for our dinner. It was yummy! Thank you, Giada!
Thank goodness for DVR because late last night I was watching one of my two recorded episodes of Giada at Home and she made a lovely, healthy, light yet hearty turkey, kale and brown rice soup which motivated me to make a similar soup today. It was perfect because I had leftover brown rice in the fridge, pantry items, and some ground chicken breast (in lieu of turkey) and I’m always grocery shopping for our week on Mondays so it was easy to pick-up more kale for this soup. Easy peasy!
For the past two months I’ve been buying kale regularly and I’ve found a newfound love for this leafy dark green veggie (I will share more about how I’ve been using this). I used to buy it occasionally and toss it in soup or chop it up very-tiny-like-so-the-family-wouldn’t-see-it in dishes like stir-fry, stew, curry or spaghetti, but I stopped doing this for goodness knows why. I’m glad kale and I are friends again and it’s all because my BFF and I went to the Farmer’s Market a while back and she got me to buy some dinosaur kale. Ever since then, kale is a regular in our fridge.
Over the weekend, despite my sore throat, the family and I took the opportunity to visit the Global Village Festival in Orange County and it was SO incredibly hot! There were many restaurant vendors, merchants, craft boutiques and dance and musical performances representing many different countries. I made a beeline for the Takoyaki booth and I had the chance to enjoy Japanese takoyaki . I was happy to find that here were large pieces of tako (octopus) in each little round takoyaki, but I admit I prefer my Auntie Sumiko’s homemade takoyaki.
We had a special family member accompany us to the Festival. If you haven’t met my grandaughter, her name is “Baby”.
Some of you might be surprised I am a grandma but Bebe E refers to me as her “Baby’s” obaachan (grandmother in Japanese). Lately, “Baby” goes everywhere with us: the park, bike rides, Target, the supermarket, the mall, her grandparents home, and of course, when we were leaving for the Festival, Bebe E asked us if “Baby” could go too. We couldn’t say no.
She really loves her little doll that she received on her second Christmas when she was just over a year old. They’ve practically grown-up together. They are best buddies, yet I sometimes overhear her telling “Baby” if she behaves badly she will get a time-out. (Hmmmm… where d’you suppose she gets that from?)
It turns out that Bebe E packed a little picnic for “Baby”. Prior to leaving for the Festival, Bebe E raided my tupperware drawer and thoughtfully asked me if she could use the three different tupperware she had in her hands. I assumed she was going to play with it in her kitchen. When we sat down for our impromptu picnic lunch, she had packed “Baby” a nice lunch in the tupperware she borrowed. Included in her picnic spread: rock food (I didn’t know what she packed in her backpack… no wonder her backpack was heavy…) and my favorite fake ikura sushi. Somewhere along the line, Mommy’s favorite sushi turned into “Baby’s” favorite and I was no longer allowed to “eat” it.
My Bebe E is so adorable (I know I’m gushing) always taking care of her “Baby”, rocking her in her arms, changing her diaper, feeding her, telling her “I love you.” :) It’s really cute to watch her take such precious care of her little baby friend. One day, I know my little Bebe E will grow-up to be a great mommy herself.
Did I mention how incredibly HOT it was this weekend in Southern California? My sore throat was really hurting, and I was near faint from the horrid heat… my only savior at the Festival was SHAVE ICE. There were two vendors and the first one we passed had an extremely long line so we kept on walking until we found Kona Ice. This vendor had a syrup fountain on the side of the truck where you could pick your own flavors and douse your shave ice with as much or as little syrup as you desired. In my heat induced delirium and rush to cool off, I forgot to take a picture of our shave ice as we quickly ate it. Oh well.
After nearly fainting at the Festival (I’m exaggerating – I didn’t even stand in line for the shave ice and instead I sat in the shade) and what seemed like record high temperatures for Fall, I decided that I wanted to make and eat Giada’s soup today. Makes complete sense right?
Giada mentioned that this soup recipe was her mom’s, but she originally made it with sausage for which Giada subbed in ground turkey for a healthier alternative. Since I had ground chicken in my freezer I went with this instead. This soup was light and flavorful and as we ate this for dinner tonight with the air conditioner blasting, we didn’t really mind that it was still 90º outside. Even better was when I turned on the TV tonight to see what was on Food Network and Bebe E asked if we were going to watch Giada. LOVE my little one! Am I a bad influence exposing my toddler to the Food Network? This soup would likely say otherwise.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ pound ground chicken breast
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 cups chicken broth, plus more as needed (rice absorbs the liquid)
- 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes (Italian seasoning), drained
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 small bunch kale, stem removed, chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots and bell pepper and saute, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the ground chicken and stir until the meat cooks, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add dried seasonings.
- Add kale and season with salt and pepper.
- Add 4 cups broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- At the end, add cooked brown rice. Stir for about 5 minutes then serve and garnish with freshly chopped parsley.