Garlicky Chicken Rice Soup Recipe
Most rice soups are made by boiling the rice in the broth, but I prefer to make it heartier by using arborio rice and cooking it similarly to a risotto. This means the soup gets a tiny bit of creaminess, almost like a cream of chicken soup but not as heavy and stodgy. As the name suggests, I like to use a good amount of garlic in my chicken soups, as it aids the healing properties (as Nigella would say, well that’s the story I’m sticking to). If you want more vegetables, you could of course add corn kernals, finely chopped spinach or small broccoli and cauliflower florets. Sometimes the only negative with adding more vegetables is either that you need to keep the proportions consistent with the total vegetables listed, or you need to make a larger serving – i.e. add more stock.
The chicken is optional – leave it out if you want a great vego version (as I do most of the time) and use vegetable stock instead of chicken. If you want to go for a curried chicken rice soup, just add 1 1/2 teaspoons of curry powder when you add the rice. I’d also probably leave out the thyme and bay if you do this.
This made for a really satisfying dinner and can be made in 20 minutes with pantry ingredients. I also have a nice serve left for lunch tomorrow!
Serves 2 with leftovers
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 sticks celery, diced
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 2 litres homemade chicken stock (mix this with up to 25% water if you need to)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup shredded cooked chicken
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place your stock in a saucepan and keep it on low heat.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a separate large saucepan or soup pot. Add the onion, carrots and celery and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and stir well to distribute.
Tip: I don’t add the garlic with the onion because I find it loses a bit of flavour if added very early. If you don’t like garlic though, add it at the start.
Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil and juices in the pan. Continue to saute, stirring often, until the rice is opaque. Add the thyme and bay leaf.
Add a ladleful of the stock and stir constantly, as you would a risotto, ‘beating’ the starchy creaminess out of the rice. Add 2 more ladlefuls of stock, one by one, and repeat the stirring process.
You can now add all the rest of the stock, plus the chicken if using. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the rice and vegetables are cooked to your liking. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the frozen peas and let them cook until bright green, then serve.