Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spiced Carrot Tomato Creme with Wild Rice

Surely you don't think toys are only for kids, do you? Okay, I know some of you out there just said, "And don't call me Shirley!" You proved my point...some of us, hopefully MOST of us, are still kids at heart. 

Adult toys come in all shapes and flavors. For some it might be golf clubs and golf-related thingamajiggies, for the Tim Allens of the world it maybe it's the latest power tool. For me? Kitchen toys. You know things that make cooking even more fun than it already is.

What makes new cooking stuff fun? For me, it's something that brings a little smile when I use it...that brightens my day. Maybe a turquoise or polka dotted rubber spatula or an oval bright red casserole dish or, as in today's case, an electric appliance you've always wanted, but somehow couldn't quite justify. Enter my brand new Cuisinart stick blender. Welcome to my kitchen!  

Oh sure, I have a blender that performs the same function, but any time you can play motorboat in a pot of soup, THAT is fun! 

So what if there's more than one item to do the same thing. Come on now, do I really NEED another veggie peeler? What good is a microplane when I have a perfectly good 4-sided box grater? Aren't 3 crockpots (oooo sorry, "slow cooker" is the preferred term now) enough? 

If, like me, you're a kitchen toy addict, the answer is a resounding NO. Does not really needing something stop me from buying the fun stuff? That too, is a fervent NO! These purchases are guided by the fun factor of "playing" with new gadgets.  

That's how this recipe came about. Soup was on the menu for dinner, but part way through the cooking the mixture just begged to become a creamy soup. Normally, I'd puree a cream soup in the blender batch by batch risking the likelihood of spilling HOT SOUP in the process. No! There's a better way! Stick blender, here I come

The soup? Smooth and creamy (thanks stick blender!) soup studded with plump chewy wild rice, ever so slightly sweet and a little tart from the turmeric and yogurt, finished with just a touch of smoked salt to counterbalnce the other flavors and completely delicious.
Back to the needs and the wants. Did I really NEED a stick blender? No. Did it make my life a little easier? Yes. Was it one heck of a lot of fun? Hell yes! WANT to make your own cooking time more enjoyable? Break out the kitchen toys!

Spiced Carrot Tomato Creme with Wild Rice

  • 1 chicken carcass, dark meat left on what's left of a rotisserie chicken (once again, you know I can't let good bones go to waste)
  • 4 celery ribs, with leaves, chunked
  • 1/2 pound carrots, baby, chunked
  • 1 large onion, chunked
  • 1/4 cup dried minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup Jane's Crazy Salt
  • 1 turmeric root, peeled, sliced lengthwise (new ingredients are like kitchen toys, too...found this little item in Whole Foods...yum!)
  • water, to cover

  • 3/4 pound carrots, baby, sliced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, fire roasted, with juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock (additional to the stock above)
  • 1/2  teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon (or so) granulated garlic
  • saffron threads, 5 or 6 or so (I like "or so")
  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 2/3 cup yogurt, Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup wild rice, raw

  • smoked salt, garnish

In a large soup pot, cover the carcass of a rotisserie chicken (the white meat was a quick Sunday dinner), the chunked carrots, celery, onion, the dried garlic, crazy salt and turmeric root with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2-3 hours until the meat falls off the bones and the stock is rich. Let cool slightly. 

Remove the solids from the stock with a slotted spoon. Let the solids cool completely before picking the meat from the bones for another use. (I use the meat in casseroles.) Pick out the cooked carrots and set those aside to add back in later.

Into the stock in the pot add raw sliced carrots, the can of tomatoes and the spices. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until the veggies are nice and tender. Add the reserved cooked carrots from making the stock back into the soup. Now here comes the fun!  

Using your STICK BLENDER (mine is a Cuisinart), puree the soup until smooth. Add the butter. Move the stick blender through the soup until the butter is melted. (If you don't have a stick blender, blend batch by batch CAREFULLY being sure the hot liquid doesn't explode from the blender....see why I bought a stick blender?)

Now add the Greek yogurt. Blend again! Woo hoo!

Add the wild rice, raise heat to ALMOST a boil, but not quite. Lower heat to a simmer and continue to cook until the rice is done.

Serve in bowls garnished with a lovely smoked salt.

My smoked salt. You can order this at Gourmet Delights!

NOTE: Turmeric root is a small, bright yellow root (rhizome) sometimes used in curries. Every so slightly gingery, it adds a note of "hmmmm...I like that, what is it?" to any dish.  Nice.

NOTE 2:  For you purists out there, another name for stick blender is immersion blender. I prefer the term stick, because who doesn't love driving a stick?! Yeah, more fun.
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