" There is no love sincerer than the love of food."
- George Bernard Shaw

Half-Homemade Chicken Soup Rice

So it's no secret that my husband and I love good food and go out of our way to try new things. Sometimes, though, it's the simple stuff that makes it to the plate; there's a time crunch, someone's sick, or no one really feels much like cooking. It happens. Nights like these usually end with some boxed meal that happens to be hiding in the pantry, but sometimes there isn't anything there.

A very simple solution is something that Campbell's Chunky Soups have recently taken to a television commercial near you: pour soup over mashed potatoes or rice. People have been doing this since before that ad first appeared, including us, but I'm sure there are those few that never had the idea. This recipe expands on this concept by first creating a very traditional soup base called a mirepoix ("meer-pwah"), which is French for "perfectly delicious" (not really, but that's the first thought that hits my mind when I hear that word). A mirepoix is sometimes considered "the holy trinity" of food bases because it consists of three ingredients: celery, onion, and carrot. These three foods are the French staple, but there are regional variations across the globe.

This recipe started one night as a rice experiment to add flavor, other than my normal herb mix, to a rice side dish. Then, when a night hit that my husband was too exhausted to cook and I really wasn't sure what I wanted to make, the decision was made to make soup-over-rice. All we had was a few small cans of condensed chicken noodle - and not the good stuff, either. I did a quick glance through the fridge and found half an onion, a stalk of celery, and a ton of baby carrots. I smiled and pulled out the cutting board.

Half-Homemade Chicken Soup Rice1/2 Medium Onion, chopped
2 Stalks Celery, chopped
2 Large Carrots, chopped
3 Tablespoons Butter
Salt & Pepper
1 Cup Chicken Broth
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3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 1/2 Cups Rice
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2 Cans (10.75 oz) Condensed Chicken Noodle Soup

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion, celery, and carrot. Sprinkle with a pinch (about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) of salt and a dash of pepper. [The salt will draw out the flavor in the vegetables as they cook.] Stir often to keep things from sticking and burning. When the onions are clear, pour in 1 cup of chicken broth. Stir well to mix and let this reduce down until it is nearly cooked away. [I may be wrong, but this reduction helps give it more oomph in the flavor department.] Add the remaining 3 cups of chicken broth and bring back to a boil. When boiling, add the rice, cover, and simmer on low for 20 minutes. DO NOT TOUCH. DO NOT STIR. LEAVE IT ALONE. [I don't know how many times my husband tried to drill this into my mind: rice needs to be left alone!]

Once the rice is done cooking, dump in the two cans of soup (per can directions, which usually means 1 can of water for each can of soup). Stir to completely combine and return to medium heat just until the soup is hot. [The only additional suggestion I would like to add here: If you have any leftover chicken in the fridge, chop it fine or shred it and add it with the soup!] Ladle into a bowl and enjoy!

About 6-8 servings, depending on how hungry or in need of comfort food the eater is.

This definitely comes out with a creamy butter flavor, which makes it the perfect comfort food. When sautéing the vegetables, the kitchen smells absolutely divine and pulls you into that zone of "I just want to live in this smell forever"; which is to be expected since a mirepoix is most assuredly a very aromatic aphrodisiac to food lovers!

With the multitude of canned soups available, there are many variations on the soup-over-rice/mashed potatoes/grains/etc out there. This is my own mix that gets pulled out once in awhile - what are some of your favorites?

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