Lemony Chicken and Rice Soup

I’m back!! I’ve been so anxious to get back into this blogging thing, but there has just been one thing after the other going on here at our house since Christmas! We had a fantastic holiday with my parents, brother and his girlfriend visiting… and a great New Years Eve party at our house. I kept hearing about friends and family coming down with the flu and terrible colds… but thank goodness we all stayed healthy through Christmas. I keep anticipating sickness to overtake our house… so maybe that’s why this recipe caught my eye. It looked comforting and healthy and came from the new cookbook I got for Christmas.

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In case you hadn’t noticed, Alex and I tend to make a lot of America’s Test Kitchen recipes. I’m a big fan! I’ve been eyeing this cook book for a while because of one word. “Quick”. As much as I’d like to devote a large portion of my day to making amazing tasty meals, the reality is that I just don’t have the time. This book is a collection of recipes that rely on some shortcuts without sacrificing the quality of the food. There are some tasty things in here to try that don’t take too long to prepare. On to the recipe…

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This is where I also get a chance to showcase some nice gifts I received for Christmas. For starters, I made this soup in my new Lodge cast iron dutch oven. It’s heavy, but I LOVE it. I used my new scale to measure out the weight of my chicken as well (approximately 2 lbs). Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown in a dutch oven with 2 Tbs of vegetable oil. It doesn’t need to be cooked through, just browned on either side.

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Time to get your best knife out! You will be doing a lot of chopping. I’m not particularly quick at chopping, so if you’re like me, you may want to have this done beforehand. You will need 3 carrots, one fennel bulb, an onion and a lemon. This was the first time I’ve cooked with fennel so I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure I would like it, given that it smells like licorice. I decided to give it a try anyway. The picture in the cookbook looked too good. If you’re new to fennel, cut away the stalks and cut the bulb in half. Cut out the core, and slice like pictured above. Once all the veggies are cut (set the lemon aside for later), put them in the dutch oven and stirfry for about 5 minutes.

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Add the chicken broth, thyme and rice and let simmer until chicken reaches 160 degrees (about 10-15 mins). Also, cut about 6 strips of lemon rind and throw those in to simmer with everything else. See my handy dandy thermometer? I just stuck it in the thickest piece of chicken and waited until it reached 160. Love it! (this was another Christmas gift). I also used Uncle Ben’s boil in a bag rice because it was easy. You can certainly use any long grain white rice.

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Once the chicken is done, remove the pieces and shred them into smaller bite sized pieces and return to the pot. You will also want to fish out the lemon rind as well. I can’t imagine that would taste very good in a bite! Whisk together 4 egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Scoop a ladle of soup from the hot pot into the bowl of egg/juice mixture to temper it. Do this a few times to incorporate the egg into the soup. This will prevent the eggs from cooking. Pour everything back into the pot and reheat for one minute. Top with fresh parsley. I happened to have some dried parsley my parents brought me from their herb garden. It smells way better than what you can buy dried in the store, so I used that instead.

This soup is very hearty and especially thick the next day. You may want to have some extra broth to add to it. Now enjoy and stay healthy! … and if you’re already sick, this may be just what the doctor ordered.

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