Chicken and Rice Soup

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Photograph by Susan Puckett

Whether you’re nursing a cold, or just coming in from the cold, there’s nothing more comforting than a bowl of homemade chicken soup. This nourishing, no-nonsense version comes from Jennifer Chandler’s handy new book, The Southern Pantry Cookbook: 105 Recipes Already Hiding in Your Kitchen” (Thomas Nelson), and it is one for the permanent collection of recipe standbys. If you’re freezing it, leave the rice out, as it could get mushy, and add freshly cooked rice after it’s reheated. Substitute noodles for rice if you prefer.

Ingredients

2 split bone-in skin-on chicken breasts (about 1 3/4 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery (2 stalks)
1/2 cup finely diced carrots (2 carrots)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
8 cups chicken stock
4 cups cooked white rice

Directions

Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Generously season the chicken with salt and black pepper. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the chicken, and sear until golden brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrots, bay leaf, and rosemary. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, and return the chicken to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked chicken to a large bowl to cool. Keep the broth warm in the pot. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Shred the chicken into 2-inch pieces.

Season the broth with salt and pepper to taste. Discard the bay leaf. Return the chicken to the pot, and reheat the soup until the chicken is warmed through. Stir in the cooked rice. Serve warm.

Makes 6 servings

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