It's never good when 'the mom' gets sick. Laundry comes to a screeching halt, dogs go unfed, and dishes, well, dishes lounge in the sink or on the counter until someone needs a clean plate. Supportive husbands help in these cases, but every man has his limits and 4 kids plus one dog plus one puking wife (sorry to be so gross, but reality is often gross) is my husband's limit. The incredible news in my house, however, is that although my doctor quarantined me to my bedroom for 48 hours (she told me to hire help. . . ha ha), my house has run relatively smoothly today thanks to my competant yet stretched to the limit husband and to my ambitious yet almost teenaged daughter. While my husband schlepped kids to birthday parties and shopped for a much needed pair of new blue jeans (let's just say his last pair was purchased in a past century), my daughter unloaded the dishwasher, sanitized the kitchen, scrubbed the bathroom, and cooked. No really, she did all that and none of it was my idea, because I was shivering in my bed under 3 quilts (maybe I should get sick more often).
During hour 40 of my quarantine an amazing smell wafted into my bedroom. Someone in my house was cooking and I suddenly realized I was starving. In fact, aside from some ginger ale and a few saltines I hadn't had a thing to eat in 2 days. After stepping onto my bathroom scale (I'd lost 5 pounds!), I shuffled out to the couch, quilt in tow, and found my daughter happily dicing, zesting, and poaching. She was making Chicken Rice Chowder and Lemon Madelines! I love my daughter! I love her independence, her creativity, and her maturity.
The soup turned out perfectly. In fact, it tasted better than mine. Maybe it was because I didn't have to cook it, or perhaps it was because I was starving, or possibly it was the extra measure of love that my daughter added to her soup. In any case, the Chicken Rice Chowder was perfectly seasoned, slightly thickened, and was just the thing to finally warm me up. This is the ideal soup to make for anyone you love whether sick or healthy.
Chicken Rice Chowder
(this recipe comes from a stained photocopy that I made years ago, I believe it is from Leanne Ely in her book Saving Dinner)
4 1/2 cups chicken broth, canned or homemade (turkey stock would work too)
1/2 cup water
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped (I often use a few cups of leftover chicken or turkey)
2 teaspoons thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup brown rice (or white or leftover cooked rice works)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, pressed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups milk
- In a large saucepan, bring chicken broth and water to a boil and add the chicken.
- Add thyme and season with salt and pepper (a bit of Old Bay or your favorite seasoning salt would work too); add rice and reduce heat.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, onion, carrots, and celery; cook until onions are transluscent. Add flour to the mix and combine well. Add this mixture to the broth mixture in the saucepan.
- Stir milk into everything and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20-30 minutes.