We have decided this recipe for Chicken Chowder is the perfect comfort dish to take to a friend in need – who is ill or recovering or recovering from a hospital visit .
Many times I have taken food to a sick or sad friend. I am from the Deep South. You cannot die in the Deep South without a casserole or five. Yet I have never in my adult life been on the receiving end of a sick/sad food delivery – until recently.
Mark has been sick for five weeks and his bronchitis developed into pneumonia. A rather drastic and nasty pneumonia that made his entire right side spasm, made him almost unable to breathe, and almost unable to speak. This lead to a 1:30 am ride in an ambulance and five hours in the emergency room, an unnecessary cancer scare due to an overzealous overnight radiologist and an inexperienced ER doc who lacked tact, and overall exhaustion in the sick ward/our living room.
Needless to say it is impossible to steal way unnoticed in the middle of the night when both an ambulance and fire truck arrive. Our very sweet neighbors asked if they could bring soup and I almost refused. Our cook wasn’t down. Our Mark was. But our cook was tired and I recently learned that one of the best ways to make friends was to accept help. I accepted the offer of soup and it gave me a whole new perspective. I never realized how impactful a healthy, delicious, ready meal in the fridge could be during a time of sickness or crisis. I felt very alone, far from family and my oldest friends, worrying without the stabalizing input of my partner because my partner was on pain meds and not lucid. It made me glad of the times I have been on the giving end of food delivery and it made me realize I need to step up my game and care for friends more often. In the past, I have thought if I am bringing food it has to be gourmet – after all I write about food and wine. Guess what? It just needs to be warm and simple.
This recipe for Chicken Chowder will be my new “go to” recipe to help out a friend. I don’t make it much. Most of it comes out of a can and I am a little embarrassed of it. It was one of the first recipes I created when I was learning to cook and Mark asks for it for nostalgic reasons – and because it really is good, healthy, and approachable. This chicken chowder is my new “go to” because it is not dependent on seasons. Nothing special has to be growing in your garden. You don’t have to coordinate food drop off with farmer’s market days. You can pick everything up on the way home from work and make a soup that can comfort anyone. And it is good in hot or cold weather. When the season allows, I encourage you to use fresh ingredients. There are easy substitutions for picky eaters and in a pinch even the chicken can be omitted for vegetarian friends.
If you want to drop off a wine, we have a few suggestions that would pair well with the chicken chowder. Maybe the person who is ill can’t drink but I guarantee their caregiver could use some relaxation in a glass. For white consider a Pinot Gris – rich, fruity and floral – it can be a real comfort. We like Oregon Pinto Gris. Consider one from Willamette Valley Vineyards, Youngberg Hill, Erath Winery, Raptor Ridge Winery. For red a Merlot – again rich and fruity without Cab’s tannins. We like Washington state Merlot. Consider L’Ecole, Columbia Crest, and Watermill Winery.
Whatever you bring, just know it will be appreciated.
- 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with garlic, basil and oregano
- 1 14 oz can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
- 1½ to 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 chicken breasts cut in to small pieces
- 1 sweet onion chopped small (1 cup)
- 1 garlic clove,minced
- ¾ cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- package saffron rice
- olive oil
- fresh black pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in soup pot.
- Add chicken, onion, garlic and cook until chicken is completely done.
- Add tomatoes and stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to simmer and add bay leaves, red peppers, fresh ground black pepper
- Simmer until heated through.
- While chowder cooks, prepare rice according to package directions.
- Discard bay leaves
- Ladle chowder into soup bowls and top with a large scoop of rice.
In Season - use fresh tomatoes, 2 Tbs chopped fresh basil, 1 Tbs chopped fresh oregano
Vegetarian - substitute 2 cans of great northern white beans, drained and use vegetable stock
Mahatma Saffron Rice is a gluten free product
This recipe is gluten free