The thing I like most about chicken soup, is just how fast you can throw it together. At work I call this one of my “ thirty minute soups” because it takes just about that long to do it.
So to start, you want to dice your vegetables. Since I’m doing this for myself at home, I’m going to tone down the amounts of vegetables because I don’t really need 3 gallons of soup. Take 3 carrots, 2 celery stalks and 1 white onion and dice them up into the nicest neatest 1/4” squares you can manage. If squares aren’t your thing, just get everything into a nice smallish chop where you can still clearly tell what each thing is. Sauté this in about a tablespoon of sunflower oil, or whatever oil you have around. Generally I do not use olive oil to cook. I might do a nice drizzle of it after all the cooking, but I feel like the heat just ruins the flavor of it. I cook with electric heat and home, and believe it or not, I love it. To me a medium heat is about a 4 on my heat settings.
Once the vegetables have cooked and are just starting to get soft, add 2 quarts of chicken stock. To the stock add 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following spices – paprika, turmeric and black pepper. I like paprika because it adds a lovely color to soups and adds a very nice level of flavor to the soup as well. Turmeric I use because it’s good for your health, and also adds such a beautiful color to the soup in addition to being tasty. Don’t tell anyone it’s there and they wouldn’t know. Dried herbs like parsley add a nice bit of interest to the overall look of the soup, without adding an overwhelming bit of flavor.
So then we simmer, 20 – 25 minutes depending on the type of rush you are in, and sometimes if you are really rushed, simmering can be a closely watched boil – so nothing burns and no pots boil over.
When it comes to Rice or Noodles, honestly I love both and get on kicks where I prefer one over the other for a few weeks before I switch. I can’t explain it. But, I do know, that I always serve this soup over noodles or rice, I don’t add the noodles or rice directly to the soup. Reason being – if you plan on cooling down and then re-heating the soup at another time, the quality of both the rice and noodles can deteriorate and have an undesirable texture if they are added directly to the soup. Now if you are someone who likes a very soft noodle, or really if life just does not permit for you to cook the rice and noodles separately, you must do what you must do! If you have the time and the opportunity though, try to add them separately
Something that I didn’t film, was that – this was the first time I have ever pressure canned soup before. I really couldn’t wait to give it a try. So out came my pint jars, cleaned and sterilized. I added two tablespoons of uncooked rice to each jar and then filled with soup. (The rice cooks during the pressure canning process)
Pressure canning becomes pretty easy after a while, and this part is really second nature to me now. You bring the pressure cooker up to about 12 psi and keep it there for a certain length of time, in this case I went for 35 minutes. Once that time had elapsed and since I started this project so late I turned off the stove and just let the pressure cooker sit and slowly lose it’s pressure over night. In the morning I checked and was so pleased to see everything canned and seems to have worked out well! Now I have 5 pints of chicken and rice soup to admire and eat whenever I feel like.