I started making this a few years ago, and made it again yesterday. it’s become a holiday tradition for those meals when you’re busy with other things.

My version uses boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I think it has a lot more flavor than modern recipes that start with cooked chicken and store-bought broth, but is less complicated and messy than traditional recipes that start with a whole chicken. This is double my original recipe, but since it takes a few hours, might as well make lots and freeze some. Makes about 4 to 5 quarts of soup. Stock and soup can be made on different days.


2 pounds chicken breasts

2 carrots cut in large chunks

4 celery stalks cut in large chunks

2 medium yellow onions quartered

10 cloves garlic peeled and halved

Dozen stalks of fresh thyme

4 bay leaves

1 teaspoon peppercorns

1/2 teaspoon salt

Place all ingredients in large pot, chicken on the bottom, cover with cold water, about 3 quarts. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Add water if necessary to cover. Loosen chicken from bottom after it boils, otherwise this can simmer unattended.

Remove chicken to cutting board and allow to cool. Strain the rest and discard all but the broth. When chicken is cool enough to handle, cut and shred into small pieces.


1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium onion chopped

4 medium carrots sliced

4 celery stalks sliced

1/2 cup of fresh thyme leaves

2 bay leaves (remove after cooking)

Chicken stock just made

1 additional quart of bought chicken stock (more if wanted)

Cup of uncooked brown rice

Shredded chicken just made

1/2 cup of fresh parsley chopped fine

Cup of fresh kale chopped fine

salt and fresh ground pepper to taste (at least 1 tablespoon salt for me)

Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat and add onion, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Saute and stir about 10 minutes until onion softens. Add all chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add rice, parsley and kale, and lower heat, simmer about 15 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom to keep rice from sticking. Add cooked chicken and simmer about 15 more minutes until rice and carrots are soft.

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