You might be thinking, “why is she writing about soup in August?” Here’s the reason, because I LOVE SOUP! I eat it year round because it is so homey and satisfying. It is also a nutritional powerhouse IF you don’t eat or make creamy soups with no vegetables in them. Although I must admit that I like an occasional bowl of clam chowder, when I eat that kind of soup I make it my meal and I have a salad before I eat it so I get my vegetables in.
I have written in past blogs about how I use soup as an appetizer before meals to fill up and get my veggies in before my entrée comes, which is a healthy eating strategy that I love to utilize. But sometimes I love to eat soup as the main part of my meal. If I do I make sure that the soup has protein in it; that’s not the time for the vegetable barley for me. My favorite soup to make, though, is chicken and rice soup. It’s another recipe from my cooking mentor, my stepmom, who got it from her cooking mentor, her mom. It’s simple and delicious. I’m delighted to share it with you!
Chicken and Rice Soup (Don’t be scared, it’s easy!)
- 1 whole chicken cut up
- 1 onion cut into big chunks
- 1 cup of celery also in big chunks
- 1 cup of carrots again big chunks
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- 8 cups of water, chicken broth, or some combination of the two
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (A departure from my stepmom’s recipe but I like a little heat. Don’t use if heat’s not your thing.)
- 1 teaspoon herbs de Provence, or fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley (mine came from the garden!)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Put all the ingredients in a large pot, minus the rice, and boil the chicken for an hour with a low, rolling boil. After an hour, use tongs to remove the chicken from the pot and put it on a plate. Reserve the contents of the pot. Add the cup and a half of rice to the pot and boil for another 30 minutes. Wait for the chicken to cool for at least 10 minutes before touching it because it’s HOT.
After the chicken has cooled, I use my fingers to pull the chicken apart from its bones and skin. My dogs enjoy the skin and other parts I don’t use in the soup, except for the bones. Dogs shouldn’t eat chicken bones because they are very splintery and could choke them. Ok, back to the soup, after I get done “picking the chicken” as I call it, I put most of the chicken into the pot but not all of it because that’s too much chicken for my tastes. I save it and make chicken salad or use it to make chicken tacos, but use as much as you’d like. I let the chicken, rice, and broth contents simmer on medium low heat for another 30 minutes. You may have to add a bit more water or salt, pepper and herbs at that point but again, use as much or as little as you’d like.
That’s all there is to it! I personally think it is even better the next day after the flavors have time to marry, but we can’t usually wait until the next day to eat this delicious soup. I serve it with a salad and grilled cheese on gluten free bread but you can eat it however you want! When I’m pressed for time I substitute the whole chicken for boneless skinless chicken thighs but if you do that remember to use all chicken broth instead of water so the soup broth has enough flavor.
I hope you enjoy this soup, and if you make it please comment and let me know how it turns out. Thanks so much to all who’ve read and commented on my blog in the past. Eating soup is something I love and sharing it with you brings me so much joy. It’s another way to live a life of vitality- like Valerie!