On Saturday, Mark and I took our nephew, Noah, apple picking at Becker Farms in Gasport, New York. It was the perfect Autumn day and we had a super fun time (look for some apple recipes very soon). The weather was perfect, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the drive out was beautiful. I hadn’t planned a dinner for when we got home, so I was scrambling to figure out a perfect Fall dinner. Soup sounded delicious so I took some of the bones from the freezer that I had from our Sojourner Farms whole chickens that we made over the last few weeks. I also took a peek at the garden and noticed I still had an abundance of kale growing, so I came up with this soup with things I had on hand. Wow, it was not only delicious, but the perfect end to the perfect October day. The wild rice has a beautiful nutty flavor, the roasted garlic is so tasty and not only does the “super-food”, kale, add a nice green color and TONS of nutrients to the soup, the slight crunch and flavor is the perfect finishing move.
You could use store-bought stock, if you don’t have any homemade on hand, but you may find you’ll want to add onions, celery and some fresh herbs to the soup to give it a bit more flavor.
4 quarts of water
1 fresh whole chicken 3-4 lbs, cut into pieces or 4 lbs assorted chicken bones (I prefer organic, free range and without hormones or antibiotics)
4 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 large onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons pepper
In a large stockpot, (use the strainer that fits in your stock pot if you have one) combine all the ingredients and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 2 1/2 hours, skimming the surface occasionally to remove any foam that forms on the surface. I added a bit more water as it was cooking to keep the chicken and vegetables covered. The longer you cook the stock, the stronger the flavor will be, but 2 1/2 hours was more than adequate and the stock had a fantastic flavor to it.
Remove the meat and bones and reserve, the meat can be separated and added back to the soup, used for chicken salad, etc. I prefer to add it back to the soup. If you didn’t use the strainer when making the stock, strain the stock to remove all the vegetables and other bits and add back to the pot. Throw out the bones and vegetables. Use the stock immediately or let the stock cool completely, and refrigerate overnight. Skim any fat that forms on the surface. Keep refrigerated in airtight containers until ready to use, up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months. Since I was using the stock immediately, I skimmed any visible fat off the top, made sure that it was strained of everything, and kept it on a low heat while I prepped everything for the soup.
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup with Roast Garlic, White Beans and Kale
8 cups of homemade chicken stock
1 whole head of organic garlic
1 cup organic wild rice
1 15 ounce can of organic white beans, drained. (I used cannellini)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 large bunch of kale, stems and center ribs discarded and leaves coarsely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
While your stock is simmering, preheat your oven to 400°F.
Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Wrap the entire head tightly in aluminum foil. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cloves feel soft. Allow the garlic to cool slightly.
Once your stock is ready, the bones have been removed and it has been strained, add back in any chicken that you’d like in the soup. After the garlic is cool enough to touch, take each clove of garlic from the head and squeeze it over a small bowl, removing the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins, or cutting it out. Add all of the roasted garlic to the soup. Stir to combine.
Add 1 cup of wild rice to the stock, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Add the beans and kale. Stir and allow the kale to wilt, about 5 to 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve and enjoy!