I created this recipe for my husband who was feeling a little puny after returning from an incredible weekend celebrating our daughter Chloe’s wedding. We came back from Santa Fe and he was severely exhausted and dehydrated and a chest cold started moving in. This is a mild soup but has all the elements required to restore health. As always, you have to start with a homemade stock for best results. I puréed a bit of the rice with the stock to provide a creamier base without the cream and create a natural thickness to the broth. I added some spinach for some extra nutrients.

restorative soup good for the soul

Yield 6-8 servings


for stock:

  • 1 3-4 lb whole chicken
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 3 smashed garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 10-12 cups cold water

for soup:

  • 1 1/2 cups steamed rice
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped in 1/4 inch dice
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 minced cloves garlic
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 diced potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • Kosher salt and pepper


for stock:

Place all ingredients for stock in a large pot. Fill with 10-12 cups of cold water or until the water reaches about 3/4 of the way full. Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover simmered for about 1 hour. Drain stock (it will be a beautiful golden color) through a colander reserving cooking liquid and chicken and discard. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove chicken from bones and shred into bite size pieces, setting aside to use later. You can strain the stock one more time through a sieve to remove any other remaining particles.

for soup:

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil and butter over medium heat and sauté onion, garlic, carrots, celery and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper, stirring until slightly softened for about 5 minutes. Add poultry seasoning and seasoning with salt and pepper.

Combine about 2 cups of reserved stock with about 1 cup of rice and purée in blender or food processor. Add mixture along with about 6 cups of stock to the pot. Stir in potatoes and bring to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and add shredded chicken, remaining rice and stir in spinach to wilt while soup is hot. If soup needs more stock, add an additional cup or so to achieve desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with my homemade dinner rolls while warm. Enjoy!

cook’s note: soup can be frozen for up to 3 months in freezer bags and slowly reheated