In our home, whenever someone is under-the-weather, I make a big pot of this chicken rice soup. It’s a simple, un-fussy soup with very few ingredients, but I think that’s what my family loves so much about it. You can taste each and every ingredient with every spoonful; nothing is disguised, heavy or laden with various spices. I usually make a lot of this, that way I can save it in containers in the fridge or freezer (and if I’m the one whose under-the-weather, a container of this at-the-ready sure does come in handy!). There’s just something about the smell of homemade chicken stock bubbling away on the stove that chases the germs bugs away. Perfect for a chilly fall or winter night, it’ll warm you up in no time. We usually have this as a meal with a salad on the side and crusty bread!
Under-the-weather Chicken Rice Soup
- 2 split chicken breasts, skin on but trimmed of excess fat
- 1 small/medium white onion, skin removed but left whole
- 6 organic carrots, peeled and cut into coins
- 4-5 organic celery stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 32-ounce containers of low sodium, gluten free chicken broth (I prefer Kitchen Basics brand)
- 6 cups cold water (for broth)
- 2-3 cups uncooked white or basmati rice
- Sea or kosher salt -- to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper -- to taste
- Step 1 In an 8-quart stock pot, place the two chicken breasts at the bottom and cover with cold tap water. You want enough water to cover the chicken plus at least another 1-2 inches.
- Step 2 Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 30-45 minutes or so.
- Step 3 Remove chicken from the pot and set on a plate to cool.
- Step 4 Reserve the cooking liquid
- Step 5 strain it through a fine mesh colander into a large bowl (Cook’s Tip: if there’s not much “gunk” floating around in the broth, sometimes I just go into the pot with a fine mesh handheld strainer and scoop out any residual pieces of chicken fat or bone and discard).
- Step 6 When the broth is strained out, add it back to the 8-quart pot (if you had previously strained it into a bowl) and add the whole onion, bay leaf, two containers of broth and the cold water.
- Step 7 Cover and bring back to the boil. Add the chopped carrots and celery.
- Step 8 Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the liquid to simmer gently until the vegetables are fork tender but not mushy.
- Step 9 In the meantime, cook the rice in a separate pot. When the rice is done, rinse it over the sink in a colander with cold water and drain. This process removes the excess starch from the pearls of rice which makes for a clearer soup broth and the rice doesn’t clump together.
- Step 10 Add the rice to the soup pot and begin shredding the chicken breasts, discarding any skin, fat and bone. Sometimes I shred the chicken and sometimes I just cut it into small chunks
- Step 11 either is fine.
- Step 12 Add the shredded chicken to the pot and give it a good stir. Simmer a few minutes more so the flavors are all well-incorporated.
- Step 13 Adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
- Step 14 Before serving, remove and discard the bay leaf.
- Step 15 Cook’s Tip: If you have a parmesan or pecorino cheese rind on hand, throw it in with the vegetables. It gives the soup another layer of salty flavor.
- Step 16 Top each bowl with fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, if desired. I usually don’t do this for my boys — they are afraid of anything green!