Sippin’ Once, Sippin’ Twice
When I think of chicken and rice soup, I always think of the Maurice Sendak books from my childhood, and the ever famous line, “Sippin’ once, sippin’ twice, sippin’ chicken soup with rice.” Carole King actually made an animated video of a bunch of Maurice Sendak stories called “Really Rosie” which included the “Chicken Soup with Rice” song. It included dance moves that certainly rival the recent jammie “Chicken Noodle Soup” (with a soda on the side) which is so bad it’s good. Well, not so much good as hilarious. I think I only reason that I like the Chicken Noodle Soup video because a) it takes place in my hood and b) features kids with sweet dance moves.
Back to Maurice Sendak, this soup makes me about as happy as the sweet lyrics to “Alligators All Around” – I could only find this sh!t copy with the lyrics over the video, but it’s still good. And for the record, my best friend Kate loves “P – Pushing People” the best. Makes me laugh every time, and yes, I know I’m a child for life.
So about this soup – there’s something about the tender rice and chicken, salty parmasean and delicate bits of egg that make this a go-to for me whenever I need a bit of comfort. Making the stock from scratch is important, but in a pinch, you could make this with broth – just make sure you don’t leave out the egg and cheese. They are essential to balancing out the flavor of this soup, and a little bit of really good cheese (I always use locatelli) just seals the deal.
I’ve detailed the recipe below as if you were making it without any leftovers, but know that I rarely actually make it this way. Typically, I save the bones and leftover meat from a Roast Chicken night and use that as the basis of my stock. Also, rather than simmering uncooked rice in the stock, I toss in a carton of leftover steamed white rice from Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese takeout. If you want to learn more about my perfect tricks for stock, take a look at this.
I usually make too much of this soup, so I tend to freeze the leftovers and reheat later on when I’m in a hurry or too tired to make a whole pot of fresh soup. Truthfully, it saves so well, I’d be hard pressed to tell you the difference between the leftover and a fresh pot. Moral of the story – make a lot and keep happy for the long haul.
Italian Chicken Soup
1 whole chicken (can be cut up or left whole)
3 carrots, peeled
2 stalks of celery
1 onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
salt and black pepper
1 c. of long-grain rice
2 eggs, scrambled
4 tbs. of grated parmasean
pinch of cracked black pepper
Place chicken (or chicken pieces) into your pot. Cut your carrots and celery into 2 in. pieces and toss into the pot. Add your onion, bay leaf, 1 tbs of salt and a teaspoon of pepper. Fill pot with 12 cups of water and set to boil. Boil on high until the chicken starts to separate from the bone and the veggies become soft. Strain broth and put back into the pot. Set aside chicken and vegetables until they are cool enough to handle.
Separate the chicken, shred and set aside. Next, take the carrots and celery and mash in a small bowl with a fork. Set aside. Add the leftover onion, chicken skin and chicken bones to the pot and add water to the pot to make around 12 cups of soup (ie. if the water came up to 3/4 of the height of the pot in the first step, add enough water so that the soup comes up to the same level in the pot). Boil until the stock reduces by a quarter. Strain stock and taste for salt and pepper. Throw out the bones and bay leaf. At this point, you can cool the stock and chill overnight, or you can continue to cook the soup.
Bring strained stock to a boil and add 1 cup of long-grain rice. Cook rice for 15 minutes, and then add your shredded chicken, mashed carrots and celery. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
While the soup is finishing up for the last five minutes, beat the 4 tbs. of parmasean and the pinch of black pepper into the eggs. Turn your soup (which should be still boiling) off and slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot. The egg will rise to the top and “blossom” into a light yellow sheet. Let the egg sit for 1 or 2 minutes, and then gently break up the egg into bits using a fork. Ladle into bowls and slurp away.
Note on Stock
- This stock can be prepared with a lot of additional ingredients, to include smashed cloves of garlic, parsley stems, and celery tops. Add these ingredients after you strain the broth the first time when you return the chicken skin and bones back to the pot.