Sunday, January 17, 2016

Coconut Curry Chicken and Rice Soup

A few days ago, I was sitting eating my lunch and thinking about dinner. This isn't a weird thing, as I am often thinking about my next meal while I'm already eating. It's a normal and healthy relationship I have with food, and I hope you do it too.

During this lunchtime dinner brainstorming session, I realized I had a couple of cravings. One craving was for curry - a rich, spicy stir-fry with red curry paste and coconut milk cascading over a bed of rice. I think I get this craving from time to time because we live near a really great Indian restaurant and I often get whiffs of delicious food walking through the neighborhood with my pup. Anyway...craving number two was a craving for a warm, steamy bowl of soup! Chicken soup, in particular, because the Boston winter seems to finally be creeping around the corner and snow flurries are becoming fairly regular around here and surely the only way to stay warm was with a big pot of chicken and rice soup.

All of this back and forth of what to eat for dinner that night actually, and probably not surprisingly, led to a pretty happy meal that was the best of both worlds. This recipe for Coconut Curry Chicken and Rice Soup is just what we need to keep us satisfied. The flavors are complex and exciting, which makes this a chicken soup worth remembering!

To amp up the curry flavor, this soup has two sources of that wonderful spicy, smokey, earthy taste - curry powder and red curry paste. Both are very easy to find in grocery stores with larger Asian offerings. The spice is intensified because, before adding chicken broth and coconut milk to our stock pot, we saute the curries and a small can of tomato sauce with our chicken and vegetables. You will immediately get a whiff of the wonderful flavors that will take over every bite of this soup!

Grab your favorite cuddle buddy, a big blanket, and a hearty helping of this soup - winter's got nothing on us!

Here's what you need for Coconut Curry Chicken and Rice Soup* (Print Recipe!)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced into 1 inch pieces
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 8-oz can tomato puree
juice and zest of 1 lime
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 14-oz can full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons chopped cilantro
a small glug of fish sauce
1 1/2 cups white rice
salt and pepper
cilantro, lime wedges, red pepper flakes to taste, for serving

Here's what you do

In a large stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the pepper, onion, celery, garlic and ginger and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the diced chicken, season again and cook until browned on all sides. Add the curry powder and curry paste. Stir around and allow the flavor to intensify, cooking about 3 minutes stirring constantly. Add the tomato puree and lime zest and continue cooking for a few minutes more.

Pour in the chicken stock. Cover the pot and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk, cilantro, and fish sauce. Stir to combine. Lastly, add the rice. When the rice is tender, adjust seasonings then serve at once with desired toppings.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe, with some inspiration from Pinch of Yum and Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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