This is a great meal if you’re looking for a nice alternative to chicken noodle soup. This hearty chicken and rice soup is flavorful, loaded with veggies and has a nice crisp flavor thanks to the fresh herbs and lemon juice added at the end. The curry isn’t overwhelming, but gives the soup a nice spice that makes it a unique chicken soup. It’s great with the herbs and lemon.
We really enjoyed what was most likely the last hot soup we’ll have for a while. I have a feeling that the weather is just not going to get cool enough for soup until October or November. Oh, Houston. If you live somewhere that is still experiencing or expecting a cool and rainy day, take advantage of it and give this soup a try.
I used this recipe from the Food Network kitchens as my starting point for this soup and then changed a few things to create a soup that had more of the things I like. I’m sure it’s still great without the changes I made. I added more carrots and celery, more broth, more rice, pureed only some of the soup instead of all of the rice mixture, added spinach and put lemon juice right in the soup instead of serving it with lemon wedges. I also changed the cooking method a bit by doing it all in one pot instead of cooking the soup base and rice separately.
Since this was my first time to make this and I was kind of figuring it out as I went, I didn’t measure exactly how much broth and water I used. Luckily, you can add as much or as little liquid as you want near the end of the cooking to get the consistency you want in this soup. When I reheated this soup last night for dinner I added a little more broth since it had thickened up overnight in the fridge. Soups are so forgiving, one of the many reasons I love them.
To make getting this meal on the table quicker and easier cook the chicken ahead of time and refrigerate it, or shred a rotisserie chicken. If you do this, you will still need all the chicken broth and water called for below. Slice the onion and chop the carrots and celery and store them in baggies or containers, the onion should be in its own container since it goes in before the carrots and celery. You can chop the herbs and store them as well, but I think they lose some of their flavor if they are chopped too far in advance. I’d recommend chopping them while the rice is cooking, but I doubt there would be much difference in flavor if they sat in the fridge for a few hours, just make sure to store them in covered containers to keep them from drying out.
Curried Chicken and Rice Soup
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
- 2 bone-in chicken breast halves, skin removed
- 5-6 cups low sodium chicken broth, divided
- 4-5 cups water, divided
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch coins
- 4 large celery stalks, cut 1/2 inch slices (you may want to halve the stalks if they are very large)
- 1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 cup white rice
- 3-4 ounces baby spinach leaves (left whole or roughly chopped)
- 3 tablespoons chopped dill
- 3 tablespoons chopped mint
- 1 large lemon, juiced
- In a large pot, heat 3 cups of water and 3 cups of broth over medium heat. Once liquid starts to simmer, add chicken breasts, a pinch of kosher salt, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove chicken from broth and let cool until you can handle the chicken and shred it. Strain the bay leaves and peppercorns out of the broth and set the broth aside.
- In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add the onions, sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions begin to soften. Add carrots and celery and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Add curry powder, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice, stir and cook for about 2 minutes, then add 3 cups of the reserved broth. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- After rice is cooked, take about 2 cups of the soup and puree it in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add it back to the soup along with the chicken. At this point you can add more liquid to achieve the consistency you’d like in your soup. I added equal amount of broth and water, probably a cup of each to start with, but you can do what looks right to you. More broth for a soupier soup, less broth for a more stew-like soup.
- With heat on medium low, stir in spinach and herbs. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes until spinach is wilted down.
- Stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.