This past week has been breezy and cool. Fall seems to have arrived and it is time to start stocking the freezer.  Today’s task was Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup.

This recipe is originally from Paula Deen, as evidenced by the use of 3 cups of whipping cream.  *gasp*  I love southern cooking, but holy monkeys, that is crazy.  What is even crazier is that I am not entirely sure I have ever modified this recipe before.  Now… my modification is minor.  I simply substituted half of the cream for half and half.  Still rather rich, but I wanted to see how it turned out before I took the change any further.  It is definitely thinner than the original, but it still worked fine.  With more roux, you could probably just use milk.

Overall, this is a really simple recipe, and I was able to throw it together after lunch with both kids underfoot.  Even better, rotisserie chickens and frozen vegetables are on sale right now at Kroger, so I saved a bit on the ingredients.  I am hoping to make one soup each week, as the necessary meats go on sale.

I doubled this recipe and once it cools, will transfer it into labeled gallon-sized ziploc bags and layer them in the freezer.  We usually pair it with some (Gregg’s… for those who are familiar) breadsticks and perhaps a salad and some fruit for dinner.  This is a soup with lots of “stuff”… I love it, and my brother calls it addictive.  The tarragon is still a slightly unusual ingredient for me and I’m not sure how I feel about it, but don’t know what I would substitute, so it remains.

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup (slightly modified, originally from Paula Deen)

3 T butter

1 1/2 c frozen crinkle cut carrots

1 c frozen chopped onion (fresh works fine, too)

1 c diced celery

3 T flour

1 1/2 t dried tarragon

3/4 t salt

1/2 t ground black pepper

1 (32 oz) box chicken broth

3 c whipping cream

3 c chopped rotisserie chicken (about one chicken)

1 (8.8 oz) bag whole-grain brown ready rice, cooked according to package dir.

1 c frozen peas, thawed

In a large dutch oven, melt butter over med high heat.  Add carrot, onion and celery; cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, or until vegetables are tender.  Add flour, tarragon, salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.  Add broth and cream; cook for 10-12 minutes, or until soup is thickened.  Add chicken, rice and peas; cook for 5-6 minutes or until heated through.