Chicken and rice soup may not look or sound beautiful, but it sure is GOOD. Plus it has to be one of the simplest soups to make from scratch. This is a classic I grew up on. I adore this soup.
I adore it firstly, because a) I’m Canadian and as every culture, every household, every cook has their own version, so did my mother and I too grew up on this stuff b) I love brown rice, especially wild rice. My mother made it with wild rice c) and lastly, because I am a grown up now, I can make it my way. My mother made it with carrots and celery. As a kid, I despised celery in soups. I choose peas and paper-thin carrot slices.
Had it not been for the fact that I was making this for my favorite Schwabe and his three boys, I would have used wild rice. I love WILD RICE. But I already said that. Yes, wild rice isn’t something you come across often in Germany and I have a distinct impression that “rice” itself isn’t at the top of the list either. We’re in potato country here.
With this soup all you basically need to do is throw the chicken in a pot with the rice and walk away. Long grain brown rice or a wild rice mix work wonderfully. The rice turns soft but still has texture. Don’t even think about substituting white rice, it just gets mushy. And if you are pressed for time or feeling extra lazy, you can use leftover rice and rotisserie chicken to make this super easy and heartwarming soup.
PS) I mince my onions, as this is a good way to hide them from suspicious kids. Works every time. You can also use chicken breasts for this recipe. I like to use the legs and thighs for more flavor.
Classic Chicken and Rice Soup with Peas & Carrots
2 small yellow onions, finely minced
1 garlic clove, minced
4 organic chicken legs (thigh with the drumstick attached) (about 800 g)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup long-grain brown rice (200 g)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
2 bay leaves
10 cups of chicken broth (2 1/2 liters)
1 cup frozen peas (130 g)
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into paper-thin disks using a mandoline
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
fresh squeezed lemon juice (optional)
1. Wash and dry chicken pieces and season well with salt and pepper. Combine onion, garlic, chicken pieces, rice, bay leaves and salt in a large pot. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
2. Transfer the chicken pieces to a colander. When cool enough to handle, remove meat (I find using a fork is the most effective way to do this); discard the skin and bones. Coarsely chop the chicken and return to the pot.
3. Add the peas and cook for about 8-10 minutes. If you like your carrots softer, then add them after a few minutes, otherwise they can be added at the end.
4. Taste broth and season with salt and pepper to taste and add a squeeze or two of lemon juice (if using). For crisper carrots, add them now and stir in half of the parsley. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with the remaining parsley. Serve and enjoy!
TIP: Go ahead and throw in some more vegetables if you like. Chopped tomatoes, pointed cabbage (my favorite add-on), baby spinach, collard greens, or even green asparagus are great additions.
5. Any remaining soup can be stored, covered, for up to 3 days in the refrigerator once cooled or frozen in individual portions for up to 4 months.