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Mexican Chicken Soup with Brown Jasmine Rice

I made the trip out to the local Asian market the other day (I love going to the Asian market!), and I picked up a big bag of brown jasmine rice.  I mean, I enjoy using regular jasmine rice in dishes, so I thought, why not up the health quotient by getting the brown version?  Little did I know that it wasn’t going to be so easy to incorporate this new ingredient into my regular cooking repertoire.  I was stymied.  I looked for possible recipes in various cookbooks and online, but none really caught my eye.  Just as I thought I was going to end up using it as a creative doorstop or something, I found a recipe that looked like it had potential.

The recipe was Mexican Chicken Soup from The Healthy Kitchen, written by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Rosie Daley.  You know, Rosie Daley, who used to be Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef and launched her first cookbook on Oprah’s show making her an instant star.  (BTW… In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprah’s Favorite Recipes – which I have and still refer to today, is a great cookbook for low fat dishes!)  And then there is Andrew Weil, the professor of medicine from the University of Arizona and all-round health guru, who has many books on healthy living to his credit.  So, I decided, if anyone could give me some hope with brown jasmine rice, it would be these two!

Anyway, the particular recipe I found came from Rosie.  I was immediately attracted to the recipe because #1 – I already had everything I needed, and #2 – I loved the combination of spices that were listed.  I did, however, make some changes to the recipe to better match my preferences and to save on some time.  The most important change (in my opinion) was to substitute brown jasmine rice for the regular brown rice that Rosie called for.  I was hoping the switch would work!

So after all my tweaks and changes to the original recipe, here is the recipe I followed that day:

Spanish Rice:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1  1/2  cups brown jasmine rice
3 cups boxed chicken stock

Soup:
1 cup onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup carrots, cubed
1 cup celery, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups water
4 chicken bouillon cubes (I like Knorr)
1 cup cubed potatoes
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1 whole boneless chicken breast, cubed
1 cup frozen corn

For the Rice:
Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat, add onions, celery, carrots, tomatoes, and sauté, stirring for 3 minutes.  Add the spices, rice, and stock.  Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for 45 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

For the Soup:
Heat olive oil in a larger soup pot over medium heat, and add onions, carrots, and celery.  Cook until vegetables become limp.  Add the water, bouillon cubes, potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf and bring to a boil.  Stir to dissolve the bouillon cubes.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 30 minutes.  Add the chicken, and cook for 15 minutes more.  Add the corn, and cook for 5 minutes.

To Serve:
Put some rice in a soup bowl, ladle the soup over the rice.  Enjoy!

As it turns out, this recipe was fantastic!  The soup warms you from the inside out, making this both a great comfort food and extremely healthy for you.  It really hits the spot on a cold day or if you happen to be feeling a bit under the weather.  I wholeheartedly recommend the use of brown jasmine rice as well.  The texture of the rice is a bit chewy and it adds a lot of flavor to the soup.

Next time I make this, it will definitely be a double batch!

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