Michigan weather has taken a turn toward the cold side and the past two days we haven’t left the 40’s. Can’t say I’m sorry to see the hot and humid days of summer gone for another year, but neither can I say I’m looking forward to the cold and blustery days of winter.
The one saving grace in the scheme of Michigan weather is having so many months of opportunities to make comfort food. Although soups are definitely our favorite this time of year, there are many other meals that warm us from the inside out.
This particular dish is a great one to make on a chilly day such as today because not only do you get a hearty meal that will fill you up and keep you full for a long time, but I also like to use the stock from boiling the chicken to make chicken soup. My first choice would have been to save the soup for another meal, but the family is never cooperative when it comes to chicken soup.
Whenever there is chicken boiling on the stove everyone’s first comment is, “Great! Chicken soup for dinner.” Oh well, is there ever a time when chicken soup isn’t good? This was especially true today because the change in the weather has given Grace a touch of the sniffles and now everyone is beginning to feel like they might be coming down with a little something. Chicken soup is just what the doctor ordered. It’s that time of year.
Chicken in Herbed Gravy Over Rice
10-12 Chicken Thighs (with bones and skin)
1 Large Onion, diced
3 Large Carrots, diced
1 Tbsp. Salt
5 Tbsp. Butter
1 tsp. Salt
6 Tbsp. Flour
1/2 tsp. Sage
1/2 tsp. Crushed Thyme
1 Carrot thinly sliced
1 Stick Butter
4 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Cups White Rice
The first step is to boil the chicken and make the chicken stock. Put the chicken thighs, diced onion and carrot, and 1 Tbsp. salt into a large stock pot filled with water. Boil chicken for at least 1 hour, up to 1 1/2 hours.
Remove chicken from pot and strain broth. If you want to use the broth for soup, just return broth to pot once strained and follow your favorite recipe for chicken soup.
Make rice. In medium sauce pan, combine butter and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed (approximately 20 – 30 minutes).
While rice cooks and chicken cools make the gravy. Melt 5 Tbsp. butter in large fry pan. Add salt and flour and stir to make a roux. Add 4 cups of hot, strained broth and stir until thick and bubbly. Add sage and thyme and continue to boil while you prepare chicken.
Remove bones, fat, and skin from chicken and break into bite-size pieces. Add chicken to gravy along with thinly sliced carrot. Continue to cook until carrot is tender.
The rice for this dish really makes a difference. Using the chicken stock and butter makes it light, creamy, and fluffy and gives it a wonderful flavor, not starchy or bland as plain white rice can be. I like to serve this with a side of homemade cranberry sauce and a small salad. Tonight the family insisted on soup, so we skipped the salad.
A hot and hearty meal on a cold and breezy fall evening is the perfect end to another wonderful fall day in Michigan, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.