About this Recipe
In Grandmother's Kitchen, one of the best things about the cooler days is we get a strong desire to make hearty soups. With so many nice vegetables still available at our local Farmer's Market, it just a matter of choosing what to cook. This soup was done in the instant pot, but you can easily adapt and do in a big soup pot on the stove top as well. The secret to this soup is cooking the brown rice on its own, letting it cool down and then adding to the rest of the soup once it is entirely cooked.
1. Rice expands when it is cooked and brown rice can get a bit of a more mushy texture. We find that if we cook the rice first (same day or you can use leftover brown rice from another meal), we are able to achieve the perfect consistency.
2. We used frozen chicken breasts in the instant pot. Once the breasts were cooked, we let them cool down then cut them into nice small bit sized pieces for the soup. Alternately, you could cut the raw chicken breasts into small pieces first and cook. We find it quicker to cook the big pieces and then cut them up after.
3. This is a very large recipe that you can cut in half if you don't have a large group to feed.
4. If you don't want to pull the leaves off the stems in the thyme, you can cook as is but you will later need to 'fish' the stems out of the soup.
Makes 20 cups of soup (approx)
2 cups brown rice
2 packages large chicken breasts, skinless and boneless (we used frozen but you can also use thawed)
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into small bite sized pieces
6 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds about 1/4-1/2 inch wide
20 small onions (the one-inch ones), skins peeled off and cut in halves or 1 large onion chopped
1/2 cup freshly chopped parsley
1 Tablespoons fresh thyme, pull the leaves off the stems
1 teaspoon salt
3 (946 ml) boxes organic chicken broth
2 sticks celery, chopped into small pieces
2 cups frozen green peas
1. Cook the rice first. We did ours in the instant pot.
Place the 2 cups rice into the instant pot. Add 3 cups water and 2 tablespoons butter.
Secure cover, turn valve to seal. Set Instant pot on Manual setting for 24 minutes on high pressure. When timer goes off let release naturally for 10 minutes (do not open yet). After 10 minutes turn the vent to quick release. Remove from the instant pot into a large bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
2. While the rice is cooking prepare all the other ingredients and put them together in a big bowl.
3. Pour ONE box only (946ml) chicken broth into the instant pot. Add the chicken breasts and all the chopped and prepared ingredients to the instant pot. (Do NOT add the frozen green peas)
BE SURE NOT TO ADD MORE THAN ONE BOX OF CHICKEN BROTH ....THERE WILL NOT BE ROOM FOR IT.
Secure cover, turn valve to seal. Press Manual pressure and set the timer to 14 minutes. The instant pot takes about 10 minutes to come to pressure and start counting down. Once the time is up, leave the lid on and let it release naturally for 10 minutes then you can turn the vent to quick release.
4. Take the lid off and let sit for 5 minutes. Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts into a large dish. Once cooled down, cut into small bite-sized pieces for the soup.
5. We now had to transfer the soup into a large roaster or a big soup pot as our instant pot was not large enough for the size recipe.
Add the chopped chicken to the pot and spoon in the cooled rice, making sure you break up any clumps as you add to the soup. Add the remaining chicken broth and gently stir to combine. Stir in the frozen green peas.
6. Gently stir together. At this point if you are serving it right away, reheat. Do a taste test and add salt if needed.
We made this to take along to a pot-luck and divided it into containers which we reheated at the potluck.
This large portion would be perfect to freeze in smaller containers for easy re-heating meals.
Our favorite of all the squashes is the butternut squash. This variety of winter squash has a sweet nutty taste. It has a tan yellow skin. The inside has orange fleshy pulp that holds a nice consistency when cooked. There is only a small cavity where the seeds are inside the butternut squash. You can bake or boil. If you want to make a creamy soup, once cooked the squash can be pureed with a blender.
A second favorite of ours is the acorn squash which has a mild nutty sweet flavor. You can eat the skin of this squash as well once baked as it gets quite tender and this is one that we love to eat baked.
A third squash that we use in lots of recipe is the spaghetti squash. Once baked the texture of the flesh resembles spaghetti. Mild in flavor, this is a tender squash and it lacks sweetness. Many recipes substitute spaghetti squash for pasta for those wanting to cut down on their pasta consumption. Tomato based sauces go well with this type of squash.