Sitting down to write my column this week I can’t help but think how important it is that we do our best to stay healthy, not only during this new virus outbreak but at all times. Eating healthy and having our immune system working at its best, is our first defence against many viruses. When someone is under the weather, the first food that comes to most people’s mind is chicken soup and there’s a reason for that. Studies have shown that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritating cold symptoms like coughs, sore throats, and runny noses. The other ingredients in the soup; carrots, celery, and onions, also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. What I love most about this soup is the blend of seasonings. They give this soup just the right amount of flavour to complement the chicken and rice.
Slow Cooker Chicken Rice Soup
• 3 chicken breasts, trimmed of fat and cut in half
• 1 cup parboiled rice (also called converted rice)
NOTE: if you don’t have parboiled rice, cook the
rice separately and add it to the soup at the end.
• 1 small onion, chopped
• 3 carrots, chopped
• 3 celery stalks, chopped
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 2-3 teaspoons salt (adjust to your taste)
• pepper to taste
• 2 teaspoons parsley
• 1 teaspoon thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
• 1/2 teaspoon sage
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons butter, optional
• 9 cups chicken broth
Place all ingredients in order in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 – 5 hours. A few minutes before serving, remove chicken from slow cooker and shred or cut into cubes. Return chicken to slow cooker, and let it cook for 5- 10 minutes more. If you are watching fat content, you can totally skip the butter. The butter gives a little more richness to the broth, but it is not necessary. The soup will taste just as good without it. This soup thickens when it cools. I love leftovers of this soup because the flavors really come out after it sits for a day or two, but it will be a thicker soup than when you eat it straight from the Slow Cooker. If you prefer a thinner soup, just add some water to it when re-heating to give it the consistency you desire.