Saturday, November 23, 2013

Chicken and Rice Soup from Scratch

Be honest: when you see the words "from scratch," are you intimidated? I know that I used to be, especially when I first started cooking for myself & Hubby. It was much easier to open a can or use a "helper" than to make something myself from scratch, and it guaranteed my meal wouldn't be a total disaster. (And let's face it; we've all had our fair share of kitchen disasters. Ohhh, the stories!) But over time, I've realized that making a meal from scratch is not as difficult as it seems. It may not always be easier, but it IS do-able. A meal from scratch is almost always less expensive, and I think it definitely tastes better, too.
If you are intimidated by scratch recipes, Chicken & Rice Soup is the way to start.  Rice is incredibly forgiving. From my experience, you can't over-cook it in a soup, and it reheats (and freezes) beautifully without getting mushy like noodles do.  And this recipe does not require much hands-on time. You can make the broth while you're out for the day , and have the soup ready within an hour once you get home -- 45 minutes of which involve simmering the soup with an occasional stir. Or you could even use homemade broth or stock you already made. I promise that it's not as difficult or time-consuming as it appears!

This Chicken & Rice Soup is a recipe I often make if we have leftover bone-in chicken. No boneless, skinless, chicken breasts here. The bones are what make the broth, and the broth is what makes the soup. There is absolutely no comparison when it comes to flavor.
While this soup takes some time to make, it doesn't mean you have to be slaving in the kitchen all day. By doing the first step in the crock pot, it requires much less hands-on time than you might expect.

First, you remove the skin from your leftover chicken.  Add the chicken and any leftover bones to the crock pot.
Then add your vegetable scraps. I keep a "stock bag" in the freezer where I put my carrot ends, onion ends, and celery leaves. Whenever I make chicken stock or broth, I add roughly 1/2 cup of scraps. 

Once you've added your vegetable scraps, fill the crock 3/4 full with water. I added 7 cups of water to my 4.5 quart crock pot, but if I was using my 6-quart, I would have used about 9 cups. Add a garlic clove (or 1/8 tsp garlic powder), some whole peppercorns (or black pepper), and few shakes of salt. You could also add some herbs of your choice. I usually use parsley. I didn't have any carrot ends in my stock bag, so I threw in a few baby carrots.
Now, just set it and forget it. Cook on low for 8 hours/overnight, OR on high for 4-6 hours. The longer it cooks, the better the flavor.
Once your broth is ready, remove the chicken and set it aside to cool. Then strain the broth into a stock pot. (If you want to make more stock for the freezer, throw the bones and some new veggies back into the crock and repeat the directions above.)
You'll end up with a beautiful, golden chicken stock that smells amazing!
Add your chopped onion, celery, and carrots to the stock. Cover and bring the broth to a boil.
While it heats, pick the chicken off the bones and cut into bite-size pieces. Place the pieces into a container and stick it in the fridge until the rice is cooked. I used to add the chicken with the rice, but the boiling broth would shred it to pieces as the rice cooked. I prefer chunks of chicken over shreds, so I add the it at the end.
Once the stock is boiling, add 3/4-1 cup of rice, depending on how much soup you're making and how much rice you prefer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally. Once the rice is thoroughly cooked, stir in the chicken and allow it to heat for about 5 minutes more before serving.

Chicken and Rice Soup

  • Leftover chicken bones or bone-in chicken (chicken pieces or a whole chicken)
  • Vegetable scraps (Onion, carrot, and celery work best.)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled or minced (Could substitute 1/8 tsp garlic powder.)
    Or Homemade Broth or Stock
  • 3 ribs celery, sliced (roughly 1 cup)
  • 3 carrots, sliced (roughly 1 cup)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3/4-1 cup rice, uncooked (I used brown rice)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Remove any skin from the chicken and place it in the crock pot. Add vegetable scraps, garlic, and a few peppercorns, if you have them.
  2. Fill crock with water about 3/4 full and season to taste with salt and pepper (if not using peppercorns).  Cook on low 8 hours/overnight, or on high for 4-6 hours.
  3. After broth is cooked, remove the chicken and bones and set aside to cool. Strain the broth into a stock pot and skim off some of the fat.
  4. Add the onion, celery, and carrots. (I sometimes add a few shakes of dried parsley, too.) Bring the broth to a boil.
  5. While the broth is heating, remove the chicken from the bones (it should come off really easily) and cut into bite-sized pieces. Store the chicken in the refrigerator until ready to add to the soup.
  6. Once the broth is boiling, add the rice and stir. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once the rice is thoroughly cooked, stir in the chicken until it's heated through. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
  8. Serve. (Serves at least 6, depending on the amount of chicken and broth used.)

I usually serve Chicken and Rice Soup with a garden salad and quick mix biscuits or homemade bread. It is such a nourishing and warming comfort soup on a cold day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love interacting with readers and learning more about you. You are always welcome to leave a comment. I make sure to answer every single one!
*I have added word verification because I've been receiving a lot of spam comments. Thanks for understanding!*