Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Chicken Soup with Rice

I've been sniffling and sneezing all day so I decided to make a pot of chicken soup. Since DH is vegetarian I also made a pot of carroty rice to go with it, then I put the two together in my bowl to make chicken soup with rice. This is the second or third time I've tried to make the soup and rice like this, and this time I nailed it! Here's what I did:

Chicken Soup with Carroty Rice
by Ramblingfamilymanager.blogspot.com


For the soup:
Whole chicken
Dill (fresh or dried; fresh is stronger)
Olive Oil
Vegetable Bouillon Cube, large
Vidalia Onion, 3/4 of a large onion

You'll notice I haven't given many amounts and that's because this is a "throw it together without measuring" kind of a recipe. I'll give you some ideas about amounts within the recipe directions.

For the rice:
Olive Oil
Dill (fresh or dried; fresh is stonger)
Vidalia Onion, 1/4 of a large onion
(You can also add some celery but DH doesn't like it, so I left it out)
Rice, 1 cup (use a rice that is on the sticky side, such as aborio or sushi rice, to get a risotto like consistency; I tried basmati once and it just isn't as good)

Soup Directions:
Prep the chicken by removing the giblets and cutting of any big fat globs, then plop it into a really large soup pot and fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken by an inch or two. Add in the salt and pepper to taste. (I use probably a couple of teaspoons of salt and a few grinds of pepper from a pepper mill. One of the kids is not a fan of pepper so I don't use a lot of it.) If you're using fresh dill, chop it up into little bits and throw, oh, say, a tablespoon in there if you like dill, less if you don't. Actually, if you don't like dill very much, you may want to use dried, then even if you use a lot it won't taste too dill-y. The fresh dill is really strong so a little goes a long way. Glug in a good amount of olive oil, to taste. I used a decent amount today, maybe a couple of tablespoons, and it was yummy. Toss in a bouillon cube. Don't leave it out- even though the chicken gives a lot of flavor, when I skipped the bouillon cube once everyone complained. Let all that start cooking on high heat at a fairly good rolling boil while you prep the veggies. Keep an eye on it, stir occasionally, and add water as needed to keep the chicken submerged. (You can also put a lid on it so you don't have to add as much water.) Turn the chicken a couple of times so it's good and cooked through on all sides. While the chicken is bubbling away, peel and chop up the carrots, celery, and onion. How much? To taste! I use a bunch of carrots because I like them, probably a pound (one small bag) and a half, a couple of good sized stalks of celery, and a large Vidalia onion. Reserve a handful or so of the carrots and about a 1/4 of the onion for the rice. Once you get it all prepped, go ahead and gently (so as not to splash yourself with boiling soup) place the veggies in with the chicken.

The chicken needs to boil for at least an hour. If the veggies are in the broth by about the last 20 to 30 minutes of cooking time they should be done with the chicken. You can test the chicken to see if it's done (and time will vary depending on the size of the chicken and the heat you use to cook it with) by CAREFULLY using a pair of tongs to see if it will pull apart. When it falls apart, it's done. I like to CAREFULLY lift the chicken out of the broth (piece by piece, because it's falling apart, right?) and into a separate bowl, let it cool until I can handle it, then pick the meat off the bone and throw it back into the soup. Before serving, test for salt. I tend to under salt in the beginning so I always need to add more at the end.

*Optional: if you are planning on leftovers, right after I throw the veggies in I'll also toss in a few frozen chicken tenders, the kind that are flash frozen so you can pull out only as many as you need. This is great for advanced meal prep- I can use that chicken for so many things! I love to eat the soup for a couple of days then use any additional chicken for a chicken salad. You don't have to defrost or anything- the tenders are small enough that they will cook quickly.

Rice Directions:
I use a medium sized pot for the rice and prepped it right along with the chicken since it used many of the same ingredients. First put in a good amount of water, at least 4 cups or so. Season it up just like the broth for the chicken- throw in salt and pepper to taste, add some of the fresh dill, and a vegetable bouillon cube. Also glug in some olive oil. I accidentally poured in way more olive oil than I planned on tonight and it came out really, really good and buttery; DH loved it. I'd say it was at least a couple of tablespoons. Let that all come to a boil then add the carrots and onion reserved from the chicken prep along with a cup of rice. (Or adjust the amount of rice to how many servings you are looking for, but make sure there is way more water than rice- you aren't cooking regular rice, you're making a rice soup.) Boil it for one minute then slap a lid on it and turn it down to a simmer for another 20 minutes. (Don't forget to turn it down!!) I like to use a pot with a glass lid so I can check that it's simmering without lifting the lid and letting out all that steam.

If you don't want to make the rice separate from the chicken, you can just throw a cup of rice in with the chicken 40 minutes in to the cooking time, make sure it boils for a minute, then turn it down to a simmer for 20 minutes more. The problem with this is if you are planning on leftovers- the rice will continue to absorb liquid and get mushy. You also have to make sure that the chicken is all the way done, and with simmering instead of boiling it may take a little longer than an hour. You can also wait until you pull the chicken out of the broth; put the rice in at that point and let it cook for the 20 minutes while you let the chicken cool and pick the meat off the bone, then throw the meat back in when the rice is done and stir it all up. Oh, yeah, I like that idea! I think that would work really well if your family is going to eat the whole pot of soup at once.

You can also scale this up or down depending on the size of the chicken and the size of your family, and how much you like leftovers. I've been watching meal prep/batch cooking videos on You Tube lately and this is a great option for meal prep. It's also really delicious, and the perfect thing to cook if you are feeling not so great. It's comfort food that's really easy to throw together and only takes a little over an hour from start to finish.


Lots of yummy deliciousness left over and ready to go in the refrigerator!