School is back in session, the weather in many parts of the country is changing, and now is the time to start fixing those foods that boost the body’s natural defenses against illness. One of those delightful, nourishing dishes happens to be homemade chicken and rice soup. Mmmm…it doesn’t get much better (unless you use noodles instead of rice!).
First, start with homemade chicken stock. Not the stuff you buy in the store, but the real, homemade kind using chicken and vegetables and water cooked down into a rich brothy stock. All you have to do is toss 3 or 4 chicken thigh and leg pieces (frozen is fine) into a crock-pot, coarsely cut up 2 onions, 2 or 3 carrots, 2-3 stalks of celery, and a handful of chopped parsley. Pour water over to cover, around 6-8 cups (I use a large, family-size crock-pot). Now, set on low and allow to cook for 24 hours or so. You can pull the chicken out and take the meat off the bones, then throw the bones back in after around 8 hours if you want.
Strain this broth into a heat-resistant container for later use. The rest can go to your dog or something.
Here is the cooled stock where I’m getting ready to make soup. Don’t be afraid of the fat on top; it’s great for cooking the chopped onion and garlic in for your soup!
I like lot’s of garlic!
Chop the garlic and onion as fine as desired and toss it in a large pot with the chicken fat off your stock. Cook over med-high heat until slightly transparent.
Mmmmm… The aroma coming from the pot is like a little bit of heaven!
Now you need to add the broth. Pour around three cups of it in. Add 2 more cups of water.
Doesn’t that look wonderful?! I wish you could smell this; it’s so rich! A touch of sweet, with the chicken and onion and garlic all playing with my nose. I can hardly wait to eat some!
Now you can go ahead and chop the chicken to be set aside in the fridge and add the rice. If using noodles, wait until the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. I like the brown, whole-grain rice.
Clean and dice a few carrots and some celery. I like lot’s of veggies!
Oh, yeah, don’t forget some fresh herbs if you have any on hand! I don’t have any parsley, so I’m using fresh rosemary, thyme, and oregano from the herb garden.
Just use a small handful of the leaves chopped up real fine.
See what it looks like cooking?
Makes your mouth water!
Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes, until the rice is tender. Then add the chicken and it’s ready to serve!
I like to have some crackers or bread with this meal, and these Glutino crackers are the best! And I’m not being paid to say that; they really are! The only thing that tops them is fresh, homemade bread. Yummmm….
Here is the recipe. I will include the salt and bullion as optional.
Chicken & Rice Soup
3 cups prepared chicken stock
2 cups water
1/2 cup long-grain brown rice
1-2 onions finely chopped
2-6 cloves garlic finely chopped
2-4 carrots diced
2-4 stalks leafy celery, diced
1-2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped fine or 1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
Chopped parsley if desired
1 Tablespoon chicken bullion if desired
1-2 cups chopped chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook onion and garlic over med-high heat in chicken fat or butter until slightly transparent. Add stock and water. Add rice and chopped vegetables, as well as herbs and bullion if desired. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 30-45 minutes until rice is tender. Add chicken and salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with bread or crackers.