I love a good recipe. It’s always satisfying to have all the ingredients and a perfect walkthrough for how to prepare something. But what happens when the fridge is running a bit lean, you’re hungry, and you’re forced to improvise with the random stuff you have on hand? It’s time for an un-recipe invention.
Soups are a great way to use up leftover ingredients and produce that is close to expiration. The beauty of a soup un-recipe is that you can really toss in whatever you have. Looking through my kitchen I found all the essentials for some chicken and rice soup. Here’s what I threw in.
- 1 1/2 boxes of chicken broth (About 48 oz)
- 1 lonely chicken breast
- Jasmine Rice
- A handful of celery stalks, chopped
- 1/2 a leftover leek, chopped
- Some leftover spring onions, chopped
- Salt, pepper, and whatever seasoning looked good at the time
While the broth was heating up on the stove, I started cooking some rice in the rice cooker and sautéed the celery, leek, and spring onions in some butter. Really, just cut up a bunch of veggies, whatever you have on hand. You don’t even need to sauté them, you can just dump them into the broth (though I think it tastes better). You could also probably just add the rice to the boiling broth to cook, but I like to ladle the soup over freshly cooked rice instead, and save the extra rice for other things. Rice is an easy addition to lots of soups to add texture and heartiness.
Once the broth is boiling, scrape everything from the sauté pan into the broth. Lots of veggies, plus some fat from the butter makes it tasty. I cut up the chicken breast into chunks and dropped them in as well. Let it boil for a while until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
Add the soup on top of the cooked rice, add any additional seasonings, and it’s ready to go.
Halfway through my second serving, I added some dried seaweed to the bowl. It wasn’t bad at all, but I think I’ll reserve the seaweed for other types of soup. 🙂
Learning to improvise in cooking can be fun and confidence-boosting. Give it a try when you are in a pinch, you might just invent your next favorite dish!