Is there anything more comforting than a steaming bowl of soup? While the Northeast was buried in snow this week those of us on the Left Coast were enjoying unseasonably warm temperatures. It caused a bit of a disconnect for me. On one hand, it’s 60 degrees and sunny. But on the other, it’s still January. It gets dark by 6pm and all I want to do is curl up on the couch and binge watch The Good Wife. In this context, a vegetable forward soup makes a ton of sense. All the promise of spring grounded in the reality of winter.
This soup comes together fairly quickly. Don’t let the vegetables fool you, it’s rich in flavor and the bacon lends a smokey depth of flavor often missing. This is vegetable soup for non-vegetarians. This recipe is also an easily adaptable template. You could swap the kale for another leafy green or add mushrooms when you’re sauteing the other vegetables. Heck, you could stir in some cooked pasta instead of rice. Like so many things at LTTW, I want you to do you. Use what you have in the fridge. It is your life and your dinner.
Smokey Vegetable and Rice Soup Serves 4-6
1 cup uncooked white rice
3 slices bacon, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 ribs of celery, chopped
5-6 carrots, chopped
32 oz chicken broth
3 large handfuls of chopped kale
Salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan cook white rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
While rice is cooking, heat a large pot or dutch oven before adding diced bacon. When bacon bits have crisped up and rendered their fat, add the onion and garlic. Allow onion and garlic to soften for 2-3 minutes before adding celery and carrots. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender but firm. Add chicken broth and bring to a low simmer before folding in the chopped kale. Kale will wilt and grow tender. Turn the heat off and stir in the cooked rice. Season again as needed.
Serve with a nice slice of crusty bread.