With the cold winter months quickly approaching, it is important to add some hot soups to your arsenal of weapons against the cold!

Chicken and Rice Soup

Consider adding this signature Paula Deen chicken and rice soup recipe to your list!

The preparation is simple, and it requires no special equipment. This is a delicious, yet surprisingly easy chicken and rice soup recipe.

While I associate a hot bowl of creamy chicken rice soup as a traditional comfort food in the United States, did you know that chicken and rice soup recipes can be found in nearly every country?

In the United Kingdom for example, they like to make a version incorporating a watery broth with chunky vegetables, chicken, and spices. These days, they’ve put a modern twist on the old recipe that uses a thick broth to develop a creamy chicken and rice soup.

Even in Asia where whole chicken is hard to come by, the Japanese make chicken and rice soups using a base of boiled kelp and tuna flakes! The sauce is added to a miso base with chicken meat, vegetables, and local herbs and the final product is called Torijiru. I don’t know about you, but I think I am gonna pass on that one!

This soup is even enjoyed in Scotland, where they make a Scottish chicken and rice soup version called “Cock-a-Leekie” soup that features leeks, chicken, and even a splash of whiskey!

How’s that for a family meal!

Chicken and Rice Soup

With so many variations across the world, we can easily say that chicken soup is perhaps one of the most popular dishes on the planet for people of all different ages, races, and cultures.

And how about this–Have you ever come down with a case of the sniffles?

I know my mom always offers the same advice when I get sick–liquids, cough syrup, and lots of chicken soup.

Homemade chicken and rice soup from scratch has been nicknamed “Jewish Penicillin” for its long-held reputation as a staple in your diet when you’re feeling under the weather.

Crazy as it sounds, this idea might not be that far-fetched! A study published by the Journal of American College of Chest Physicians found that soup could help reduce upper-respiratory inflammation, the main cause of your flu-like symptoms, such as that annoying stuffy nose and constant sneezing. Fluids found in soups and drinks are also known to loosen congestion and support hydration.

So next time you don’t feel well, listen to your mom and put some soup on the stove before you sit down and turn on the TV to marathon “This is Us” for the third time.

 

Recipe Notes:

It is clear that there are numerous potential health benefits you stand to gain from making an original or even creamy chicken and rice soup.  But what if I told you that there are even more good things to get excited about?

When I tell you that you need to make a homemade stock, do you run for the hills? All that work! But, one of the greatest things about this recipe is that you end up making a simple homemade stock with your ingredients in the first few steps! Not only that, but I have a secret (yet easy) way to add a boost of flavor to your stock.

My secret ingredient is Better than Bouillon. It doesn’t replace your stock like regular bouillon cubes. It fortifies and accentuates all of the natural flavors and goodness in your broth, bringing a new complexity to any soup dish.

Cooks Illustrated, an industry leader in the cooking sphere, has taste tested the Better than Bouillon brand multiple times, and always ranks the product very highly.

In their chicken broth tasting, they discuss the benefits of “concentrates” such as Better than Bouillon. They praise the brand and state that, “given its great flavor, long shelf life, and price, we’re naming that concentrate our best buy.” Have no fear and throw in a tablespoon or two to spark new life to an old favorite!

Chicken and Rice Soup

 

 

 

Aromatics

For those who don’t know, aromatics are combinations of vegetables and herbs that are heated in some fat at the beginning of a dish. The heated fat helps to infuse the dish with mouthwatering flavor and simultaneously releases those delicious aromas you associate with a good meal.

The fat element can be items such as vegetable oil, butter, margarine, coconut milk, or olive oil. Knowing this bit of information can take your cooking from good to great and give your meals that little extra taste boost. I find this to be especially true when cooking this chicken noodle soup recipe.

When cooking this recipe, try cooking your vegetables and herbs in a small amount of oil or butter before adding them to the final pot to simmer. You will notice a deeper set of flavors in the final product! The only time this tip is a little hard to perform is when making this recipe in a crockpot.

 

Variations

Got crockpot? Chicken rice soup slow cooker style, yum. I have a confession to make. When it comes to cooking, I can be lazy. That’s why one of my favorite piece of cooking equipment is my slow cooker. For those who enjoy throwing everything in the pot and running out the door, and come back some time later to a hot meal, this recipe is for you:

  1. Sauté the onions, celery, carrots, garlic cloves, thyme leaves, and bay leaves in a skillet with a little oil or butter.
  2. Combine chicken and aromatics (except for parsley) into the slow cooker with 12 cups of water.
  3. Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.
  4. Open lid and add rice. Cook on LOW or HIGH heat for one more hour.
  5. Remove chicken from soup and shred or cut into small pieces. Place chicken pieces back into the cooker.
  6. Stir in parsley and serve.

There are plenty of adjustments you can make to add variation to this family favorite. Try adding a different grain into the soup, as seen in chicken and wild rice soup. Wild rice is great because it is high in proteins, amino acids, and dietary fiber, while staying low in fat. Due to its nutritious and tasty properties, it is easy to see why this rice has exploded in popularity over the late 20th century.

Chicken and Rice Soup

 

You could also try a variation from another country, like Mexican chicken and rice soup. Just add:

  • 1 bag frozen corn
  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans
  • 1 14.5 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 4 ounce can of Diced Green Chile Peppers
  • 1 15 ounce can of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Top with Mexican Shredded cheese blend

I personally love to spice up things in the kitchen by putting a twist on family favorites. You can even add some sour cream to the top of your soup while plating bowls, giving your family the experience of dining out at a fancy restaurant.  I know my family always licks their bowls clean after we finish this meal and I rarely have leftovers