This is one of my all time fave stews/soups. I will give you a recipe, but remember, this is COTF (clean out the fridge), so use what you have if you don't have something that I list.
You are going to need 8 cups of broth in a large stock pot. Bring it to a boil, then turn down to medium.
You will also need about 3-4 cups cooked wild rice (or brown jasmine rice or a combo of the two).
Warm a large skillet on the stove, add a few tablespoons of olive oil and add these ingredients to the skillet as you chop them. Keep stirring, as you add ingredients.
1 med white onion, chopped fine
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
generous pinch of coarse ground kosher salt
1 leek, chopped fine (don't use the dark green leaves, and make sure you rinse it well, on each layer, as the dirt tends to get down in there)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper
Add about a half cup of water at this point, and cover with a lid, to steam the veggies
5-6 small carrots, sliced fine
celery heart, chopped (this is the four or five center stalks of celery, plus the short little ones in the middle, and all their leaves)
After these veggies have steamed a bit (about 5-7 minutes) They should be starting to get tender. Take the whole pan and carefully spoon the ingredients into the hot broth. Add the rice and more pepper and salt, as needed. Add more rice to get a thicker stew, but remember, it will thicken overnight if you have leftovers so don't get it too thick now.
Let warm through, then add in a handful of fresh chopped parsley (pull the leaves off, the stems are bitter) or 4 tablespoons of dried parsley, and a cup or two of frozen peas. Oila!
Serve in warm bowls (a trick my mom taught me to keep your soup hot longer) with a fresh baked loaf of bread or your fave loaf from the store.
If you want, add whatever chopped meat you have on hand. If you don't have any meat cooked up, you can pan sear a chicken breast, chop it and add it to the pot. Here is how you do that:
Using the same pan you used to saute the veggies, heat to medium heat. Split a chicken breast lengthwise, to make it cook more quickly. Put a few tsp of oil in the skillet. Lay the meat in and cook till it starts to get some color on the bottom. Flip with tongs and cook on the other side too. Don't worry about it being a little pink in the center...it can finish cooking in the stew. Take out of the pan, and chop it on your cutting board, and then add to the stew. Take a cup of white wine and pour into the hot skillet. Stir with a spatula, till all the browned goodness is not stuck to the bottom of the pan anymore (don't look - but you just "deglazed" your pan!!). Pour this into the stew, and stir.
One of the reasons this stew is soooo yummy, is that when you saute the veggies and spices, you add a layer of flavor that you can't get just by putting the veggies/spices straight into the soup pot. It takes a little longer, but the flavor is worth it! And boy-oh-boy, is this good the next day!!