It is that time of year when the weather begins to change. Here in the South it is a very slight change, but very much needed. The humidity lifts its damp cloak and the air becomes just a little more crisp. That ever so slight change has me craving stews, soups, and braised meats. My brain goes into overdrive and I start planning fall menus and anticipating the first harvest of root vegetables.
To jump into the fall season this week I share an all time, much loved comfort food, chicken & rice soup. This is a soup for beginners, one that I promise will stay in your recipe book and accumulate splashes and stains from heavy use. When I am sick this is what I want to eat more than anything and Ben is always there to make it for me.
Chicken and Rice Soup
Yields around 3.5 qt.
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 ribs of celery, small diced
3 medium carrots, peeled and small diced
1 medium white onion, small diced
2 clove of peeled garlic, small diced
5 chicken thighs
1 bay leaf
2.5 qts chicken stock
2 cups cooked white rice
½ bunch of parsley, minced
2 tablespoon kosher salt
Begin by seasoning the chicken thighs with 2 teaspoons of the salt and set aside. Heat a mid sized soup pot over medium heat, when hot add in the olive oil. Add in the chicken, skin side down and cook until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Flip the chicken over and cook for two minutes longer. Remove chicken from the pot and place on a plate and set aside. Pour out the oil in the pot and discard. Place pot back on the stove and add in the celery, carrot, onion, and garlic. Cook over low heat until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the chicken stock, bay leaf, and chicken thighs. Bring mixture to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to low. Cook the chicken until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and let cool slightly, pull the meat away from the bones, and chop into smaller pieces, discard the skin and bones. Add the chicken meat, cooked rice, parsley, and remaining salt to the pot, and stir together. Taste for seasoning. Grab a bowl of soup, a few crackers, and a fleece blanket. Put on your favorite movie and enjoy.