As the weather turns cooler, it's nice to start thinking about warm soups and stews to make a quick dinner or tuck into school lunches. You may not think about putting apples into soup, but they really work here. Diced into tiny pieces, the apples meld right into the soup and add a sweetness that balances the spicy. I like to make this soup ahead and then freeze it into individual sized portions, ready to be thawed and tucked into a lunchbox with home made flatbread. Brown rice is not only a healthier addition to the soup, but it also holds up really well to freezing.
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup each chopped celery, onions, and carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 or 5 boneless, skinless, chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch cubes. You can use chicken breasts, but the meat tends to go a bit dry. Thighs work the best here.
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
6 cups low fat chicken broth
one 19 oz can of plum tomatoes, drained and cut up
1/2 cup uncooked long grain brown rice (you can substitute white rice, but only if you plan to eat the soup right away and not freeze it)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups peeled, cored, and diced Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I used cilantro)
3/4 cup low fat sour cream or yogurt
1 Tbsp lemon juice (I zested a lemon and then cut it in 1/2, squeezing the juice from one 1/2 into the soup)
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat and saute the celery, onion, carrots, and garlic until soft. Add the chicken and continue to saute until the chicken is no longer pink. Stir in the chili, cumin, curry, cloves and bay leaves, allowing them to cook for about a minute.
Pour in the chicken broth, tomatoes, and brown rice. Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then cover and reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Brown rice typically needs about 45 minutes to cook. In the soup, it was a teensy bit chewy still after 15 minutes but by the time the soup sat on the stove, etc it was cooked through.
Stir in the chopped apple and cilantro, letting simmer for another 5-10 minutes until the apples are soft. Zest a lemon right into the soup, then cut the lemon in 1/2 and squeeze the juice from 1 half right into the pot. Stir. When you serve the soup, swirl in a bit of low fat sour cream and top with a bit of chopped cilantro.
Adapted from Crazy Plates