Chicken and rice soup, with a ginger kick!

October 7, 2013

Chicken and Rice Soup

At the end of last week I shared with you what is quickly becoming my favorite roast chicken recipe, and I promised a follow up post with a chicken soup that could be made with the leftovers, if you had any. While you could just as easily make a traditional chicken noodle soup following the same instructions, I decided I wanted to give my soup a little kick this time around with a few Asian flavors – ginger, lemongrass, and just a hint of Thai chile. It sounded like the perfect match for a chicken and rice soup, and I agree even more so with that sentiment now that I’ve devoured a large potful of it.

My favorite part of the roast chicken is the drumstick, and so those and a bit of the breast meat were gone immediately when I made the roast chicken. I saved one of the breasts for this soup, as well as a wing and the overall bird carcass. The carcass was my base for the chicken stock, along with a little lemongrass, ginger, black pepper, and onion. Once I had my stock made, a quick saute of some more onion and ginger, along with a single Thai chile, diced celery, carrot, and a clove of garlic provided a second deluge of flavor. Then I added the rice to let it soak up the oils and flavors from the pot before adding the stock back in along with the shredded chicken meat from the leftover breast and wing to finish simmering.

The great thing about chicken and rice soup is the starchiness of the rice thickens the soup in a way that doesn’t quite happen with the noodle version. So you get an almost creamy chicken stock, which, when paired with the little hit of garlic and ginger, makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside. My husband loved the little chunks of ginger he kept getting in the final soup, so I think this recipe will be in rotation in our house for a very long time.

Courtney’s chicken and rice soup (with a ginger kick!)
Makes about 6 quarts

For stock
Chicken carcass from roast chicken
1/4 onion, peeled and halved
2 inch knob ginger, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks
2 lemongrass stalks, cut into 2 inch pieces
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
Kosher salt, to taste

Add all ingredients except salt to an 8 quart stock pot and cover with cold water. Place on the stove over medium high heat. Once the water begins to boil, add salt (I usually do about 2 teaspoons) and let the stock boil, at least 1 hour or up to 2, until the flavor has been leached out of the ingredients, adding water occasionally for the first 75% of the time if it dips below your ingredients. Let cool, and strain through a cheesecloth. Reserve for soup recipe below.

For soup
Olive oil
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 inch knob ginger, finely diced
3 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Thai chile, finely diced (I leave in my seeds for a little heat)
1 teaspoon dried parsley, or 1/4 cup fresh, chopped
3/4 cup short grain white rice
At least 1 breast and 1 wing or thigh from roast chicken (though more never hurts, throw it in the pot!)
Chicken stock, from recipe above
Salt and pepper, to taste

Pour a very thin film of olive oil in your clean stock pot (for me, this is about 2 teaspoons). Heat over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger, carrots, and celery and saute until the onions begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Then add in the garlic, chile, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Continue to saute the ingredients until they are soft, around 7 to 10 minutes more.

Next, add the rice to the mixture and stir for about 1 minute, until the oils are soaked up and the vegetables are coating the grains. Add the chicken and the chicken stock, and turn the heat up to medium high, bringing the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat back down to medium, and simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, until the rice is soft and the flavors are well developed. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Note: If you don’t want to make chicken stock from scratch, you can always boil store-bought chicken stock with ginger and lemongrass for 30 minutes or so to get a similar flavor (I would probably add in about 50% more of each). Homemade chicken stock is just so darn good, though so I highly recommend this method.

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