This really is the best Chicken and Rice Soup Ever! At least out of all the ones I’ve ever tried.
What makes it so over-the-top-amazing? Two things in particular.
1. Rather than buying chicken stock, we just cook a whole chicken in water and that becomes the broth. We need cooked chicken anyway for the soup, why waste the flavorful water that the chicken simmers in?? So it has a super, SUPER simple homemade stock as the base.
2. We add lemon. Can I just tell you how much better this soup gets when you add the bright lemon??? It completely transforms it and brings so much extra flavor and depth to the table. Just like this recipe, the citrus makes a HUGE difference!
It’s just the perfect soup. It has everything a soup should have. Comfort, amazing flavor, the perfect broth consistency, everything.
You may be thinking, wait…it’s 80 degrees outside. Why are we talking about soup?
Well I am a firm believer that soup can and should be eaten all year ’round because soup is one of the best things in the world. If I could only eat soup during Fall and Winter I would not be a happy camper. But here is why this soup is so perfect for spring and summer – it is light and bright (unintentional rhyme).
It’s definitely not a heavy soup in the first place, but when you add the lemon it just adds this huge punch of brightness that makes this soup completely appropriate for warmer months :).
It’s the lemon in this soup that gives it that unique flavor and makes it the most addicting soup EVER! After I finished photographing these yummy bowls of goodness, I sat there eating spoonful after spoonful out of the pot for about 15 minutes. My intention was just to have one spoonful. I’m telling you. Addicting.
I have to tell you a story about what happened while I was making this, though. I had already simmered the chicken for 45 minutes and taken ALL the meat off ALL the bones. The bones were busy simmering for another 20 minutes in the pot and my beautifully shredded chicken was laying nicely and innocently on my cutting board next to the stove. I was sitting on my couch, finishing up this blog post when I heard a few little noises coming from the kitchen. I stood up to see Boone (our dog) polishing off the last of the shredded chicken. He literally ate every. Single. Last. Piece. An ENTIRE chicken’s worth of meat. And it was a big chicken, guys. I was SO MAD. I ended up driving to the grocery store right down the street and buying a rotisserie chicken. I shredded that for the meat portion of this soup. But it was only about half the size of my original chicken.
I am still quite upset with him.
Actually that’s not true. I was un-mad at him pretty quickly afterwards because he is so dang cute. Don’t judge me. When you are married without kids your pets become your children.
You really need to make this soup! It is SO yummy!!
- 1 whole chicken (either bought in pieces or bought whole and butchered at home)
- 4 carrots, thinly sliced
- 3 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup uncooked rice (I used wild rice blend, any rice will work)
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 cup cold 2% milk
- 1½ lemons, juiced
- Add your chicken to a large pot and cover with water, I used 12 cups
- Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 45 minutes
- Remove the chicken and, using a fork, pull the meat off and shred it
- Add the bones back into the water and boil for another 20 minutes
- Put your rice on the stove to cook in a separate pot according to the package directions
- Meanwhile, prep your carrots, celery, garlic, onion, and thyme
- Remove the bones and discard. Run a sieve through the water several times and get out any small bones or pieces of chicken that are still in the water
- Add the vegetables and thyme into the water and bring to a boil
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes
- Add the cold milk into your soup. While the soup is heating back to a simmer, skim the fat off the top using a spoon and discard
- Melt ¼ cup of butter in the microwave and whisk in ¼ cup flour until it forms a thin paste
- Add your chicken and rice to the simmering soup
- Whisk in the butter/flour mixture and let the soup simmer for 5 minutes, or until thickened slightly
- Remove from the heat and add the juice from 1½ lemons (more to taste)
- Stir in 3 teaspoons salt and ½ - 1 teaspoon pepper. Taste and add any extra seasonings you think the soup needs