Restorative Chicken Soup

bittman.jpgToday, Evadne shares a key ingredient for her family surviving winter sicknesses:

“Hailing from Canada, there are many things I love about wintertime. But as a mom to a sociable preschooler and thumb-sucking toddler, the season has become overshadowed by sniffles, colds, stomach bugs, and - most recently - a bout of pneumonia (sigh). The road to recovery for us inevitably involves visits to the pediatrician, vitamins, and lots of rest, but we've also added another ingredient to the remedial mix: chicken soup - the quintessential comfort food.
After trying out various canned chicken soups and being repeatedly disappointed (too salty, tasteless/dry chicken, tin can flavor, etc.), my husband finally decided to make our own soup from scratch (cooking is one of his passions). He pulled a recipe for Chicken Soup with Rice from Mark Bittman's How To Cook Everything (incidentally, he gets a lot of his inspiration from Mark Bittman's short video clips available here) and the result was a truly restorative soup: flavorful broth, softened rice, tender chicken pieces, and nourishing vegetables. Healing for the body and, as they say, good for the soul.

Below is the recipe with our annotations:

Chicken Soup with Rice

Makes 4 Servings
Time: 30 minutes

  • 5 to 6 cups chicken stock (we made our own chicken broth, but store bought is fine too)

  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice

  • 1 carrot, peeled & cut into thin slices

  • 1 celery stalk, minced (optional)

  • 1 cup raw or cooked chopped boneless skinless chicken (we tried raw chicken breast and another time used leftovers from a Costco rotisserie chicken - both worked great)

  • Minced fresh parsley or dill for garnish (we substituted with 2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp of dried thyme)

    1. Place the stock in a large, deep saucepan or casserole and turn the heat to medium-high. When it is just about boiling, turn the heat down to medium so that it bubbles but not too vigorously. Stir in the rice, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are all tender, about 20 minutes.

    2. Stir in the chicken. If it is raw, cook another 5 to 8 minutes, until it is cooked. If it is cooked, cook 2 or 3 minutes, until it is hot. Season with salt and pepper, garnish, and serve.”