If there's one thing I hate, it's getting sick. Being sick feels like being benched--like you're missing out on everything, losing precious days of your life to feeling weak and gross and all-around shitty. But if there's one positive thing about it, it's all the homemade chicken soup and tea you get to slurp down all day long. My mom used to make the best chicken soup from scratch whenever I came down with a cold, but now that we live about 3,000 miles apart, I've had to make do with my own (still very delicious) abbreviated version. Because really, who has the energy to stand at a stove for hours when they're sick? Not I.
I made this chicken soup with rice at the beginning of the week when I could tell I was coming down with the same cold almost everyone in my office had been suffering from. It takes just about an hour and a half and requires almost no elbow grease--just chop up a few veggies, throw them into a big pot with an organic chicken and some water, and let it simmer. All that's left to do in the end is shred the chicken and put it back in the broth. Simple, easy, perfect for a sick day. It was so easy, in fact, that I decided to add a little bit of fun to the soup by frying up bits of the reserved chicken skins for a garnish (inspiration from the amazing matzo ball soup at Prune). I mean, let's face it, chicken soup, as nourishing as it is, can get a little boring by the third or fourth bowl, and when you've been stuck in your apartment watching My So-Called Life on Netflix for the 100th time, you've got to get your kicks in somehow. xo
Chicken Soup with Rice
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 large celery ribs, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken
1 cup long-grain brown rice
1/3 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus a few more for garnish
3 teaspoons salt
3 quarts water
Freshly ground black pepper
Combine onion, celery, carrots, chicken, rice, parsley, and salt in a 6-quart pot. Add water and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer, skimming off fat as needed, for 1 hour.
Transfer chicken to a colander. When cool enough to handle, remove meat; reserve skin and discard bones. Coarsely shred chicken and return to soup. Add 2 teaspoons salt and pepper to taste and reheat if necessary.
Optional: Chop the reserved chicken skin into small pieces. Heat a few tablespoons of canola oil in a small nonstick pan until shimmering. Drop a small handful of chicken skins into the hot oil and fry for a few minutes until crisp and golden brown. Garnish each bowl of soup with a few pieces. Yum.