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Chock full of vegetables and chopped rotisserie chicken, One Pot Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup is uplifting remedy for shorter days and chilly nights.
One Pot Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup could easily be One Pot Creamy TURKEY & Rice Soup. I use rotisserie chicken to save a little bit of time, but after Thanksgiving leftover turkey works fantastically, too. I make this soup with white rice; however wild rice can also be used. If you prefer not to use chicken, the method and base of this recipe supports a very hearty wild rice soup all on its own.
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Wondering what to do with that leftover rotisserie chicken? I’ve got some ideas and they’re mighty TASTY!
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I considered saving this post until just before Thanksgiving, but here in the South, September is a highly active month for hurricanes. Fingers crossed we dodge a tangle with a named storm this year. My heart is breaking for the displaced residents of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and the surrounding areas. Not Entirely Average has MANY readers from Louisiana and the Gulf states, and I have already heard from numbers of you asking for recipes that can still be made despite limitations. I am all too familiar with needing this kind of help.
This time last year, Charleston experienced a weather event of some significance. A powerful system made landfall as a tropical storm, and it knocked out power for several days. Living here and knowing we are vulnerable, there are lessons learned with every storm. As I look outside on this dreary, grey, September day, I am reminded of that storm late last September. I also remember the humble meal my entire family ate the evening that storm hit.
This soup boasts an element of texture with the addition of rice.
There was concern in the morning when I awoke to what sounded like a train barreling right toward the house. Crazy lightening the likes of which I had never seen before. The lights were already flickering and through the waterlogged screens on the windows you could make out tremendous pools of water…more like lakes…forming in both the side and back yards. They do not call this the Lowcountry for no reason. WE FLOOD. The Lowcountry is Mother Nature’s catch basin for these colossal storms.
As I lay in my bed, I began thinking about how much food we would lose if the freezers cut out. When hurricane season begins, we like to “eat the freezers down” as we say. You never know when you will need to evacuate or if power will be down for an extended period, so the less freezer inventory, the better. In some way, I felt okay losing what I knew was remaining. But what would we eat if we did lose power? I immediately began a large Dutch oven with vegetables from the fridge and pantry and was intent on a giant batch of cream of chicken rice soup. My family was not going hungry tonight.
Sherry gives this creamy base depth of flavor, so much so, that I rarely add salt beyond the caramelization of the vegetables and browning up of the roux.
Chicken and rice seem to satiate the comfort food craving in any form, whether casserole, plated, or soup. Combined, these two ingredients are delicious and undeniably gratifying. A casserole might have been a good idea, but it would need to bake. I did not have that kind of time especially given we were wagering against the power going out. No, I needed something that could be cooked quickly, made super-hot, and in a pot that could hold the heat for a LONG period of time in case we lost electricity. My Dutch oven. With the lid securely fitted, I knew my soup would remain hot for hours. At the very least, I would be assured that my family would eat a warm meal on such a dreadful day.
This tasty chicken rice soup can be super simple to make if you have pre-cooked chicken on hand. A rotisserie chicken is almost always in my refrigerator, so I quick picked it clean and began my soup. I have also cooked chicken breasts in my slow cooker, intent initially on chicken noodle soup, and ended up using for this soup recipe. I grabbed homemade stock I had made and frozen from the last rotisserie and knew that merely adding that would impart generous richness and flavor to my soup without even having to season it. Trust me when I say that after cooking your own once, you will begin to use your own for everything from creamy chicken and rice soup recipes to bringing dry stuffing mix to life the next time you roast and stuff an old hen or pot chicken.
And allow me just a sentence or two on the merits of THE MOST USED TOOL IN MY KITCHEN, my Dutch oven. I know I have said it before, but for those of you new to Not Entirely Average, I am big on making investment purchases in quality kitchen and bakeware. Period.
The extra money spent on a more efficient pot or pan is so far reaching. If for no other reason, think of it in terms of you and your family’s health. Cheaply made products often come with warning labels that if the product is used incorrectly, the surface could chip or seep into foods causing illness. Wonder how frequently that happens?
It only takes the first time you go at your non-stick pan with a metal spoon. That is it. Done. Surface compromised. Now do you care to gamble with what is underneath that non-stick surface? And how many more times will you ‘use it just this once’ before getting around to buying a new one? Will you even notice the damage? Moral of the story…buy once, buy quality, be assured. These tools will not only last you, but they will last your kids and their kids. Cast iron has looked the same for over 150 years, so no, nothing is in jeopardy of going out of style.
So, where was I? Soup. Yes, onto this soup. As I mentioned earlier, I love the texture the rice offers to the finished dish. There is just a little extra bite in addition to the chicken. One of the great things about this soup is how easy it is to make, and it only takes about 45 minutes making it a good meal even when there isn’t a lot of time. I like to serve this with of all things, toasted bread. I prefer my homemade buttermilk bread, sliced thick, then toasted in the oven until golden brown. It’s then liberally brush with melted butter. The bread speaks for itself. The butter enhances what is already going on with the bread. And the combination compliments this soup like they were all made for one another.
I have been preparing some form or another of this soup for so many years, that I had to write out the ingredients for this post so as not to leave anything out.
This is one of the first recipes I cooked for myself when I purchased my first house and money was tight. It is still a favorite. I do not know, maybe it brings me comfort because I knew it 30 years ago when times were simpler. It always seems so luxurious and creamy and delicious to me. It starts with onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, is thickened with a light roux, and is seasoned with fresh parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, and some sherry.
I simmer it (under normal circumstances and NOT in the middle of a tropical storm!) in my homemade chicken stock which I consider to be liquid gold. It all gets finished with a touch of cream and fresh parsley if it is on hand. My Mom likes a squeeze of lemon juice in hers. Wait to taste before adding any salt or pepper, as the sherry really flavors this well. Without question, One Pot Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup really is the definition of wholesome.
…in preparation for the questions I know y’all have 😉
Can I Freeze One Pot Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup?
Dairy does not freeze well because it almost always splits and curdles. I do not advise freezing this soup.
Is It Possible to Make This Soup Ahead?
On the brighter side, this soup reheats VERY well, so you can make it ahead of time and then just heat it up when you are ready to eat. *caveat…
…that said, if you plan to make this soup in advance follow all the steps but do not add the rice until you know you will be serving. Reheating leftovers is one thing, but to have the texture exactly right, the rice should be cooked just before the soup is eaten. Simply measure your rice, reheat the soup over medium low heat, and add the rice when the soup begins to steam. Reduce the heat and simmer until the rice is cooked through, anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes. This cook time may be altered if you are using wild rice or brown rice.
Should I Bust Out the Slow Cooker?
One Pot Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup DOES NOT work well in a crock pot. I have never gotten the ingredients in this soup to marry the way preparing in a cast iron pot or Dutch oven does. If you can get it to work, let me know. Same goes for the instant pot. I am sure there is a method, but it will not turn out tasting quite like this chicken soup.
One Pot Creamy Chicken & Rice Soup
- large Dutch oven
- ½ cup salted sweet cream butter
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped I am using Vidalia onion
- 2 stalks celery with leaves, chopped
- 3 large carrots, chopped
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 7 to 8 cups chicken stock, homemade if you have it
- 5 sprigs fresh parsley
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 ¾ cups cooked, chopped chicken I am using leftover rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup long cooking white rice
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry or cream sherry
- 1 tablespoon Kosher salt ** ** taste before adding and add if needed
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- additional decanter of sherry for passing, if desired
- lemon wedges for passing, if desired
- Tie the parsley sprigs, thyme, and bay leaf together with a piece of kitchen twine and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 12 minutes.
- Add the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes more.
- Pour in the stock and bring to a boil while whisking constantly. Add the tied bundle of fresh herbs (Bouquet Garni) to the soup. Lower the heat and add rice. Simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is cooked through.
- Stir in the chicken and bring to a second boil. Remove from the heat.
- Whisk the heavy cream, sherry, (and salt if using) into the soup and season with pepper to taste. Remove and discard the herb bundle. Divide among soup bowls and serve immediately with additional sherry and lemon wedges at the table.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.