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Chicken and Rice, Curry Banana, Roots and Rhizomes Stew

Soup’s On! February is soup month, according to Alanna of A Veggie Venture, and this is my contribution.

This stew was mostly a stone soup, but it also turned into an excuse to try out my new curry powder, Two Knives Special Curry Blend from Auntie Arwen’s Spice Blends. It’s a fairly mild curry, but intensely flavorful – more satisfying than any other curry powder I’ve tried (until now, I’ve usually purchased my curry powders at Sahadi’s or Kalustyan’s).

(I actually recently got a whole shipment of spices from Auntie Arwen as a holiday gift from friends. I know it’s cheating, but I’m loving the hickory smoke powder and mesquite smoke powder we got from Auntie Arwen, too. I’ll give you a few ideas on how to use those some other time.)

Like I said, this was a stone soup. Remember that story? The poor couple takes in the traveler for the night, and apologizes when the traveler asks for dinner, saying the pantry is barren and there is no food to be had. The traveler cheerily reassures the poor couple, explaining that she brought a magic stone with her that can be used to make stone soup. She washes the stone carefully, and places it in a big pot of water on the stove. Then she oh-so-casually asks the couple if they happen to have any leftover carrots, because that makes stone soup taste even better. Oh, yes, they have one droopy carrot left. Chop it up, in it goes. Any herbs in the garden, just to improve the flavor of the already wondrous soup? The barest few leaves, but yes, there are some, and in they go. And so on. In the end, the stone soup is just as delicious as the traveler promised it would be.

I love making stone soup, from whatever we happen to have around the house. (And whatever we happened to grab at the store without really pre-planning too much, to be honest.) It’s a great way to use up leftovers and foodstuffs that would otherwise go to waste.

There’s chicken in here, and this wonderfully nutty red rice we found at our local co-op. Lotus root we’d purchased in Chinatown a few days earlier, that had reached the use-it-or-lose-it stage. Bananas fried in more curry powder. Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, ginger, and all sorts of other good, tasty things.

We’ll be making this stone soup again on purpose, someday.

Chicken and Rice, Curry Banana, Roots and Rhizomes Stew
3 C chicken stock
4 smallish carrots, chopped into bite-sized chunks
4 jerusalem artichokes, chopped into bite-sized chunks
Small handful fresh dill, roughly chopped or torn up
About 5″ lotus root, peeled and thinly sliced
1/8 C ginger, finely chopped
1 C rice (Alter Eco Ruby Rice, or perhaps wild rice)
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 tsp curry powder
3 ripe bananas, sliced on the diagonal about 1/8-1/4″ thick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Set the chicken stock to simmer in a pot. Throw in the carrots, jerusalem artichokes, lotus root, ginger, and dill.

Cook the rice separately – for the ruby rice, rinse it, then cook in 2 1/2 C water. If you can’t find ruby rice, any chewy, nutty rice will do. Wild rice would actually be an excellent substitute.

Brown the chicken in a bit of olive oil in a pan. Add it to the pot.

Brown the onions in a pan, just lightly, not letting them get too dark or sweet. Add the garlic in the last few minutes of browning. Then throw it all into the pot.

Add the rice to the pot once it’s done.

Toast the curry powder in the pan gently, just until fragrant, then scrape into the pot and stir in. Do not clean the pan off yet!

Let everything simmer a while, tasting occasionally. When it’s basically ready, saute the bananas in the remaining oil and curry powder in the pan, then scrape the bananas (and all tasty stuff stuck to the pan that you can get) into the pot.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Be warmed, fed, and happy.

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13 Responses to “Chicken and Rice, Curry Banana, Roots and Rhizomes Stew”

  1. Alanna says:

    Hi Danielle ~ I’m not sure I’ve actually ever heard the stone soup story before! But I so totally love the concept of ‘much from nothing’. I’m trying to imagine bananas in soup … this must be tried! Thanks so much for the inspiration and for joining the soup-makers at Soup’s On!

  2. Brilynn says:

    I love that you added bananas to this soup! And lotus root! That’s not something I see here very often.

  3. Tanna says:

    That is so beautiful!
    Chicken and Rice…ok
    banana and lotus root!

  4. Barbara says:

    Dave’s grandmother also had a “recipe” for stone soup – the Jewish kind.
    Maybe plaintain would be a good alternative to the bananas?

  5. Barbara says:

    Sounds and looks delicious.
    Dave’s grandmother also had a “recipe” for stone soup – the Jewish kind.
    Maybe plaintain would be a good alternative to the bananas?

  6. Helen says:

    What a great looking soup. I see lotus root at the store but never had it before. Could you describe the taste?

  7. Wow, this is the second time in the last couple of days I’ve seen lotus root recipes and bananas in a curry soup. I’m taking it as a sign. I’ve got to make this recipe. Your delectable photos have enticed me!

  8. MeltingWok says:

    OH wow..I had 2 chinese new year dish with lotus root, and this is great !! I’ve never dared to use lotus root & bananas in my curries, this is an eye opener :) Thx for sharing, cheers !:)

  9. Kristen says:

    That is such a beautiful looking soup! I’m tempted :)

  10. Danielle says:

    Alanna – It’s an old folktale, with lots of variations floating around. I’m glad you like it.

    Brilynn, Tanna – It was a fun experiment!

    Barbara – Sure, I bet that would work well.

    Helen – Lotus root is more about texture than taste for me. It’s fairly bland, a bit on the sweet side. But the texture is just lovely, a nice and interesting sort of crunch. The holes hold flavorful elements well.

    Susan – What were the other recipes you’ve seen? I’m awfully curious.

    MeltingWok – I love your lotus fries on your blog!

    Kristen – Do go for it.

  11. Yvo says:

    February is definitely a soup kind of month! Mm, yummy!

  12. mandira says:

    I loved your stone soup story! And the soup looks delicious. Curried Banana and lotus roots combination sounds amazing…

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