We kicked off the New Year with my best friend and her family, as we do every year, but this time in my garage (for obvious reasons). Instead of fancy finger appetizers, I aimed for something comforting and warm for us to eat. My Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup was insanely good. In fact, I announced it’s the best soup I’ve ever made. Once you make yours, let me know if you agree.
You may be surprised to not see celery in the soup. Why? Well, for selfish reasons. I don’t tolerate celery very well. Yes, this is shocking but celery, celery salt, etc makes me inflamed. How did I know this? From my MRT food inflammatory test, and instead of the usual celery, I opted for leek; one of mother nature’s healthiest vegetables.
Leeks belong to the onion and garlic family, and while they are low in calories they are rampant in nutrients including vitamin C, A, magnesium, fiber, iron, folate, B6, copper, and vitamin K. My favorite benefit, they are great for the gut! Okay, enough about leeks, let’s get on with the recipe.
Lemon Chicken & Rice Soup
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 6 ea full-size carrots, colored (purple, yellow, orange)
- 3/4 cup leeks, sliced I buy leeks fresh and then I slice them and store them in the freezer to be readily available.
- 1 ea onion, yellow, chopped
- 4 ea garlic cloves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup brown rice rinsed (not cooked) and drained (do not swap white rice, as it will cook more quickly and become mushy). For a lower-carb option, you can add in 2 cups of frozen cauliflower rice.
- 3 pounds skinless, boneless, chicken thighs
- 8 cups bone broth I buy bone broth in the carton
- 1 ea bay leaf
- 6 ea fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 ea rosemary sprigs
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Lightly coat a larger slowcooker with avocado spray. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium. Add the carrots, leek, and onion, and cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften ~ 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, salt, and pepper and cook 30 additional seconds. Remove and transfer to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Add the rinsed brown rice to the slow cooker. Arrange the chicken thighs on top, then pour in 8 cups of the bone broth. Add the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 1/2 hours, until the rice is tender and the chicken is cooked through. To prevent the chicken from becoming dry, check it early. (The chicken is done when it registers 165 degrees F at the thickest part.) If the chicken finishes cooking before the rice, remove it first so that it does not overcook, then re-cover the slow cooker and continue cooking until the rice is tender. Remove the bay leaf and herb stems and discard.
- Place the chicken on a cutting board. Shred the chicken, then return it to the slow-cooker. Stir in the lemon juice. If you'd like the soup thinner, add additional water until you reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. Serve warm, sprinkled with additional fresh thyme.