(Even Healthier) Chicken Soup with Rice Recipe & Song

photoSometimes when we go on car trips, I stop by the library and pick up some books on tape and DVDs.  This past summer, as we were on our way to Mt. St. Helens, we were lucky enough to hear this song sung by Carole King based on the book by Maurice Sendak.  We stopped at a random Mom and Pop place in the mountains for lunch, and what do you know, the soup of the day was…that’s right, Chicken Soup with Rice!  That was enough to seal the deal with my kids.  They love this soup!

Although this soup is not necessarily unhealthy, I couldn’t resist trying to come up with a healthier version.  I have tried it a few times now, and my kids do not detect the added nutrition.  Instead of making a roux from flour and butter, I puree 2 cans of white beans.  And instead of white rice, we use a healthier grain.  We have tried brown jasmine rice, brown basmati rice, and even millet.  All of them have worked for us.  Without further delay, here is the recipe.  And by all means, you must listen to the song.  It is a treasure!

(Even Healthier) Chicken Soup with Rice

1.5 cups dry brown rice or other whole grain
2 chicken breasts (or equivalent canned or precooked chicken)
1-2 T olive oil
1 onion
4 carrots
3 celery ribs
2 cartons low sodium chicken broth (8 cups)
2 cans low sodium white beans
salt and pepper to taste

Start by getting the rice cooking.  Then start boiling the chicken breasts.  As those two things are cooking, dice an onion.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet or pot.  Add the onion and start cooking it.  As it cooks, peel and chop the carrots and add them to the onions.  Slice the celery and add that to the mixture.  As the vegetables cook, drain the two cans of white beans and puree them in a blender with some of the chicken broth.  Add the bean puree and the remaining chicken broth to the onions, carrots, and celery.  As they simmer together, shred the chicken and then add it.  Lastly, add the cooked rice and salt and pepper to taste.  I don’t serve this soup with bread or crackers, because my kids will eat it on its own.  And I want their tummies to be filled up with the nutritious stuff.

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