Hi – I’m back again! I haven’t been able to blog the last two months because of a family crisis. My father and mother-in-law were in a serious car accident in July. Their car was T-boned on the passenger side where my mother-in-law was sitting. She sustained severe injuries which included an open fracture to both bones in her left leg and a fractured right arm. My father-in-law suffered fractured ribs and a torn rotator cuff. Needless to say, Mr. Dashing was extremely distraught after the accident. I was also anxious because I am close to my mother-in-law and consider her like my second mom. There were long stretches of weeks where we spent more time in the hospital or nursing rehabilitation home then we spent in our own home.
Fortunately, Mr. Dashing’s parents are now at home and slowly recovering from their injuries. There has been an outpouring of support from extended family. Several of Mr. Dashing’s aunts have traveled across the country to stay with his parents and help them out. One of the aunts is an exceptional cook and I learned some amazing dishes from her. One of the dishes is a delicious chowder that I will blog about next time. Soups were very popular during the recovery process and consumed in large quantities by all.
I have also stayed over and cooked several meals for my in-laws the past few weeks. One day, I made my most comforting chicken soup for them and they were eternally grateful. What it is about chicken soup that nourishes our soul and soothes our agitated spirits? There is certainly magic in tossing onions, celery and carrots (the sublime mirepoix!) in a pot of hot water along with a bone-in-meat of your choice. Add some salt and pepper and you have an ethereal soup worthy of serving to company.
I have posted details on how to make my favorite version of this soup. I like using smoked turkey leg instead of chicken because turkey adds so much flavor to the soup. It is also a great use for Thanksgiving Day turkey leftovers. If you don’t have access to smoked turkey, then an uncooked turkey leg or bone-in chicken can be used. The turkey will take longer to cook than the chicken.
The recipe for this hearty satisfying soup is below. I love the brothy, soul-lifting fragrance that fills the kitchen when I cook this soup. For all those that suffer from food sensitivities, you will be happy to know that this soup is also gluten and dairy-free.
Smoked Turkey Vegetable and Rice Soup Serves 6-8
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 to 4 medium carrots, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 to 4 ribs of celery, washed and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 bay leaves
- 1/4 cup of fresh flat-leaf parsley, washed and chopped (may also add a few sprigs of fresh chopped herbs such as thyme or oregano if desired)
- 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, washed and chopped (optional)
- 2 quarts of chicken stock
- 1 smoked turkey leg (may substitute bone-in chicken breast if smoked turkey is not available)
- 1/2 cup of brown rice (my favorite is Lundberg Golden Rose medium grain brown rice, may substitute white rice if desired)
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
Step 1: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and bay leaves for about 5 minutes to soften the vegetables and enhance their natural sugars.
Step 2: Add the stock and bring to a boil at medium high heat. Then lower the heat to a simmer.
Step 3: Add the chopped herbs and stir. Save a bit of parsley to use as a garnish.
Step 4: Then add the smoked turkey leg to the soup.
Step 5: Add the brown rice and stir into the soup.
Step 6: Heat soup back to a simmer. Cook for 75 minutes or until turkey is tender and rice is desired consistency. About 35 -40 minutes into the cooking time, remove turkey leg from the pot. Cut the meat off the bone and slice into bite size pieces. Return the chopped meat to pot. Stir soup occasionally while cooking. Add additional stock or water if the soup gets too thick.
Step 7: Remove and discard the bay leaves. Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add chopped parsley for a garnish and serve. Enjoy your hearty homemade soup!