Well folks, the Arctic Blast is upon us and we are all hunkered down in our homes waiting for it to pass quicker than it did last year. In the meantime, I have been looking for ways to keep warm, both inside and out. One of my really good friends came down with the flu last week and was laid up for some time. I got the idea that I would make him some chicken and rice soup.
I had never made chicken and rice soup straight from scratch before and was very interested in the procedure. I scoured the internet for different recipe ideas and seasonings but I couldn’t find any that appealed to me. Instead, I took ideas from about four different sites and made up my own recipe for chicken and rice soup. I will say this is very time consuming, as I wanted to make the chicken as tender as possible.
I also wanted to be authentic as possible without all the heavy labor, a.k.a. deboning a chicken! So I’ve simplified the recipe to make things a little easier and quicker to those of you who are as lazy or strapped for time as I am.
Chicken and Rice Soup
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: Approximately 4 hours
6 (1 ½ lbs) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 small onion, chopped
6 cups water
½ cup uncooked white rice
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp McCormick Perfect Pinch Vegetable
2 tbs butter
salt and pepper to taste
First step to all this homemade craziness is the preparation. Everything needs to be cleaned, peeled, chopped and trimmed before it even touches the pot. After you have prepared the vegetables as described above, trim the fat from the thighs. It will make it easier to clean when you have to pull them out of the pot to shred the meat.
Now put 5 cups of water in a big pot. Save 1 cup of water for later if you need to add it to take away some of the saltiness or the soup just needs more liquid. Turn the heat on high and place all of the chicken thighs in the water. Bring to a boil. As it boils, skim the fat from the top. If the fat stays, the end result will be more like a stew than a soup. Once you have skimmed all the fat from the top, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.
If you are like me, there is something that didn’t get prepped in the beginning. If that is the case, do it NOW! You want everything to be ready for the pot as soon as possible. After 15 minutes, add the butter, onion, salt, pepper, and perfect pinch seasoning into the pot and simmer for another 35 minutes. This infuses flavor into both the chicken and the broth. This is a good time to taste the broth as well. Dip a spoon right in there! If it is too salty, add some more water. If it is not salty enough, then add a little more salt. Remember, it is always better to under salt than oversalt anything.
After the chicken is cooked, turn off the heat for a little while and let the broth cool. This is an important step for two reasons. One, it allows the flavors to sit for a little bit. Two, it gives you time to pull the chicken from the pot and shred it with a fork. You don’t want to boil all the water out of the soup.
Shred all the chicken with a fork. This is the easiest way to get good pieces of chicken in the soup without being too chunky. After the chicken is shredded, turn the burn back on and bring the broth to a boil. Put the remaining vegetables in the stock and let them cook for a few minutes before adding the chicken again. Then add the rice and keep a watch on it. The rice will absorb a lot of the liquid. You may need to add some water as you go. Cook the soup until the vegetables are tender and the rice is cooked.
And there you have it! Chicken and Rice soup. I managed to get several servings out of this one dish and was able to eat it for more than a week! It would also be an excellent choice to freeze and eat for later.
I hope this meal touches your soul! Happy cooking!