Sometimes you need a little comfort food
The easiest chicken and rice soup comes to the rescue on this rainy day. Because it hasn’t stopped raining here in twelve hours and the temperature has dropped soup was an obvious choice. Consequently, I asked my husband this morning what he wanted for dinner and he didn’t hesitate, chicken and rice soup was his immediate response. I find chicken and rice soup to be very comforting on a rainy, cold day. There are a thousand ways to make chicken soup. Here is how I make it.
For our purposes the easiest chicken and rice soup begins with mirapoix, saute celery, shallot (or onion) and carrots. Being from Texas I wanted to bring a little heat to my soup. As a result I tossed in a serrano pepper, seeds and all into the mirapoix. Ginger adds a little more depth to the heat. Because serrano peppers heat is more consistent than other peppers like jalapenos I find myself using them more often when I cook.
Ingredients and chicken
Chicken can be as easy as you want it to be, you can start with a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store. Sometimes I have slow cooked chicken already cooked. Either way you might have chicken cooked on hand. However in any case it doesn’t take much time to boil some and as a result you will have chicken broth for the base of the soup.
Boiling the chicken creates broth for the base of the soup.
I prefer to boil the chicken breasts on the stove top for about 20 minutes. After twenty minutes I turn off the stove top and then I put a top on the pot for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes I remove the chicken to a plate to cool. I like to tear the chicken into bite size pieces by hand. As a result this prevents it from becoming too shredded on one extreme or too solid on the other extreme. Consequently the chicken can absorb all of the flavors, enriching the soup. Save the broth from the soup. You will drain out the bits and pieces and use it for the soup. You can substitute low sodium chicken broth from the store if you prefer.
I find minute rice to be super easy. In addition I can add more flavor to the rice by substituting chicken broth for water.
Healthy benefits of chicken soup
According to a 2018 article on Newswise.com , chicken soup is chocked full of health benefits. Most importantly chicken is a good source of vitamin B and the carrots, celery and shallots are full of antioxidants and minerals along with vitamins. Black pepper and the serrano add a little spicy warmth creating a comforting flavor. In addition, using the broth from the boiling the chicken adds more health benefits. Then I jazz up the flavor with bouillon cubes.. I don’t add any more salt because I figure there is salt in the bouillon cubes. Colds can dull your taste buds, as a result a flavorful soup is a great way to get your nutrients and a little hydration.
In addition to your soup you can serve it with a hearty side salad or some bread and I promise it will warm your heart. It is simple enough to stop by your favorite bakery and grab a loaf of bread. This not only simplifies your meal prep, it supports a fellow local business. Meanwhile you can chop up some lettuce and salad fixings, top with your favorite dressing. Dinner is served!
Easy Chicken and Rice Soup
- 3 Chicken breast halves, skinless approx weight 1 lb 10 oz.
- 1 Tablespoon Olive oil extra virgin
- 1 Shallot, large chopped
- 2 celery sticks sliced
- 3 carrots peeled and sliced
- 1 -2 serrano pepper option to add a second one
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1-2 Tablespoons cracked black pepper add one , then taste and decide if you need second one
- 2-3 chicken bouillon cubes add separately, depending on brand you may need more ( 6 cups of liquid is what you are adding to)
- 4-6 cups Low sodium chicken broth, optional if you don't use chicken broth from cooking chicken breasts
- In large pot boil chicken in 6 cups of water for 20 minutes, then take pot off of heat and put top on pot for another 10 minutes. Removed chicken breasts to a plate to cool, saving broth for use later. Once Chicken is cooled enough to touch, tear by hand into bite size pieces. Other chicken options:If you are short on time you can also use a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred the chicken for soup. You can also slow cook chicken in a slow cooker with chicken broth , 4 hours on high.
Time to chop
- Chop up shallots, carrots, celery, serrano(keeping seeds if you like a little spice). Mince garlic and grate the ginger. In a dutch oven, pour a Tablespoon of olive oil and add shallots, carrots, celery and serrano to saute. Saute until shallots are beginning to soften, this is about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and saute for 30 seconds on low. Strain the leftover chicken broth and pour into the pot two cups at a time. Add 1 Tablespoon of cracked black pepper and 1-2 chicken bouillon cubes and simmer them in. Taste the broth, if it needs a little more flavor add another bouillon cube and another Tablespoon of black pepper. After all the flavors are mixed in and simmered, about 15 minutes add the chicken, stir it in and turn off the heat until you are ready to serve. You will need to reheat it before you serve it. I like to add rice to the bottom of the bowl and pour the chicken and broth over the rice. If you add rice to the soup it will continue to absorb the broth and you will lose the broth. My husband likes to call the broth "pot liquor". Even if I was to serve the soup immediately I would still serve rice then pour soup over it, equally distributing rice to each serving.
- I keep the rice simple, either use minute rice and prepare according to package or boil in a bag rice. However you like to make rice, do it. I use white rice and often substitute chicken broth for the liquid so the rice has a nice flavor to it. Set it aside until you are ready to serve the soup. As I mentioned above I don't add the rice to the big pot of soup because it will continue to absorb the broth. I add some to each bowl, then pour soup over the top, this also equally distributes the rice between servings.