I made chicken marenga soup last night for supper; it is soooo cold here right now, and soup is so good on a bitter cold night. Usually I make chicken marenga soup out of leftover chicken marenga and leftover New Orleans dirty rice, but I didn’t have that this time, so I made it from scratch. It was pronounced better than the leftover kind by my husband, so here is what I did:
Bring 2 c beef broth to a boil ; add 1 c brown rice, stir (I use my dutch oven for the rice so I can finish the soup in it and have less pots to wash); turn heat down to simmer and cover, cook for 30-40 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Take off heat (if the rice is not yet completely tender, that is okay.)
While the rice is cooking, saute 1 c each chopped onion, celery, green pepper, and mushrooms in a little olive oil with 1-2 cloves minced garlic.
When the rice is done, add the tender vegetables to the rice with 1 14 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes, 1/8 t cayenne (or less; 1/8 t makes a very spicy
soup), 2 bay leaves, a sprinkling of tarragon, and salt and pepper. Stir in 8 oz clam juice with 1 quart chicken broth and several cups chunked cooked chicken.
(We buy whole chickens on sale; my husband skins and bones them, and I cook the meat in a stock pot covered with water until it is done. I strain the broth; chunk the chicken, and freeze it together: one chicken chunked with 1 quart chicken broth. It is the base for most of my chicken soups and casseroles.)
Simmer the soup until the rice has absorbed some of the liquid and is completely tender; add more water if necessary while cooking; salt and pepper to taste.
Usually New Orleans dirty rice is thickened with flour, but I left the flour out. If you want a thicker soup, stir a few tablespoons of flour into the vegetables when they are done cooking and before they are added to the rice. This recipe makes almost a full dutch oven of soup.