Warm spices—curry, cumin, and coriander—season this earthy soup, perfect for serving on a chilly fall afternoon. Oatmeal batter bread makes an ideal partner, with its rustic free-form shape and dense texture.
Curried Chicken Wild Rice Soup
(Makes 8 servings)
2 Tablespoons butter
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup sliced carrots
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons dry sherry
2 cups half-and-half or light cream
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Stir in the mushrooms, onion, celery, and carrots and cook for 5 minutes. Gradually add the stock, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.
Add the wild rice, chicken, curry powder, coriander, cumin, salt, pepper, and sherry.
Simmer until heated through, about 15 minutes. Stir in the half-and half or cream.
Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot, sprinkled with the toasted almonds.
Oatmeal Batter Bread
This is a thick, flat bread studded with pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds, a popular mexican snack) as well as dried apricots and sunflower seeds. The combination gives this bread a delightful texture. You can buy already roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds in the whole foods section of most supermarkets.
(Makes 1 loaf)
2 to 2½ cups bread flour
¾ cup quick cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 package (¼ ounce) or 1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup water
1/3 cup honey
4 Tablespoons (½ stick) butter
¼ cup roasted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
¼ cup roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour, the oats, salt, and yeast and mix well.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the water, honey, and butter and heat until very warm, about 120°F. Add to the flour mixture along with the egg, pepitas, sunflower seeds, and apricots and beat with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff batter. Cover and let rise until puffy, 25 to 30 minutes.
3. Stir the batter to bring it down and turn out onto a greased baking sheet to make a free-form shape. Cover and let rise until the batter is puffy, about 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
5. Bake until the loaf sounds hollow when lightly tapped on the bottom, 35 to 40 minutes. Cut into thick slices and serve.
Adapted from The Soup and Bread Cookbook