I had work off on Wednesday due to the funeral proceedings for George H.W. Bush. The law firm I work for follows the government schedule, so when the federal government is closed, so are we. Let’s say I took full advantage of the free day off. I slept in, did some cleaning, watched a lot of Netflix, and of course completed a couple cooking projects.
Since I had just made a whole roasted chicken over the weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to make stock from the carcass. I also happened to have a rotisserie chicken with some meat left on it, so I had two carcasses. I had used a good deal of the breast meat from the rotisserie chicken to make a chicken parmesan pasta bake, but there was certainly still a significant amount of meat on the chicken. This was going to be perfect for soup. I used the two carcasses to make my own chicken stock.
To make the stock, I dropped the two carcasses into the largest pot I had. It is okay to break the carcasses into pieces. I added two whole unpeeled carrots, three whole celery stalks (leaves included), a whole yellow onion (quartered), a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a half a bunch of fresh Italian parsley (stems included), and a couple garlic cloves.
I then added about 10 cups of water (enough to cover the carcasses and vegetables). I turned the heat on high and brought the liquid to a boil. Then, I reduced it to medium to allow a gentle simmer. I let the liquid sit at a simmer for a few hours. I was reading a post from Alton Brown who said to let stock simmer for 6-8 hours. I didn’t have that much time, but I did let it simmer for about three hours. As the liquid started to evaporate, I would periodically add more water until it covered everything again.
I was surprised how much flavor developed in this broth in such a short amount of time. Not long after it was simmering, I was already getting this tasty chicken flavor that strengthened over time. I could see a small layer of fat building on the top of the broth, which I would try to skim off. After cooking for several hours and feeling content with the flavor, I strained the broth into a separate pot and returned the pot I used to make the broth to the stove. I was going to turn this gorgeous broth into a soup.
This was my first time ever doing this. It is definitely time consuming and requires some ingredients I don’t usually have lying around. However, it was certainly worth the time. This stock functioned just as well as the kind I buy from the store, and I think it actually tasted better. I will be keeping this experience in mind for the future if I have another whole chicken. Now, I will share with you the recipe I came up with for chicken and rice soup.
Chicken and Rice Soup
Yields about 6-8 cups
- one yellow onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- two carrots, diced
- three celery stalks, diced
- 6-8 cups chicken stock
- two sprigs fresh thyme
- one teaspoon dried parsley (can substitute for Italian seasoning)
- one cup uncooked rice of your choice
- two cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken breast
- salt and pepper to taste
- juice of one lemon
- 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
- Heat some oil in a large sauce pot over medium heat (I used canola oil). Once the oil is shimmering, add the diced onion and cooked until translucent (4-5 minutes). Season with garlic powder and salt and pepper.
- Add the carrots and celery and stir to combine, loosening any onions that are sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Pour in the chicken stock, starting with about 6 cups. Add thyme sprigs and dried parsley.
- Add the rice and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat and return to a simmer.
- Allow the soup to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
- Once the rice is cooked, add the cooked chicken. If the rice cooked out too much of the liquid, add more broth. Simmer for another five minutes until the chicken reheats.
- Remove the thyme sprigs and squeeze the lemon juice into the soup. Then, stir in your milk, starting with 1/2 cup until it reaches your desired thickness and texture. Add salt and pepper to taste if need be before serving.
I won’t lie to you. I was so proud of this soup. Not only did it smell like heaven on earth, but it tasted divine. The homemade stock was definitely what made this soup extra special, but if you don’t have time or the ingredients to make stock, using store bought is perfectly fine. That is typically what I use anyway, because I don’t normally have a whole day to make one soup. I did love though that the stock had so much flavor in it that I didn’t have to add too much to the soup.
This soups also gets some added body from using milk. You can leave that out if you want, but I like a slightly thicker soup. I used almond milk because I don’t drink regular milk. Dairy milk would make it even creamier. I was surprised though to see that the almond milk did give it a little bit of a creaminess.
This soup is a great way to use up ingredients in your house. I already had chicken, a lemon, carrots, celery, and thyme leftover from other meals I cooked recently. The only ingredients I really needed to pick up were an a couple onions and parsley. Realistically, I only went out and spent a couple dollars to make this soup.
We had perfect soup weather this week. I found the perfect day to make this. It was even lightly snowing. I went to an exercise class on Wednesday and pre-made this soup. After I came back in from the cold, all I needed to do was heat it up again and enjoy. I got a nice cozy bowl of soup to warm me up after the class. And of course, the best part was having delicious leftovers for the rest of the week!