While chicken and rice are a time-tested duo that might go under-appreciated sometimes due to their ubiquity, we’ve got a soup for you today that will knock your socks off. Not just any chicken and rice soup, this is our “crack” chicken and rice soup. Of course, there’s nothing illicit in this bad boy, but one bite really does get people hooked and then we end up with numerous requests to make this, whether it’s for a weeknight, family dinner or for when we’re having people over. There’s something simultaneously homey about it, but still so tasty that it gets people questioning why their versions never end up quite as good. Well we’re spilling all our secrets today, so grab a pencil and get ready to jot this down.
While most of our soups start the same way – with carrots, onion and celery – where we veered off course a bit was with our seasoning. Paprika and Italian seasoning add a little kick, but one, full packet of dry ranch seasoning really punches things up and makes this soup extra flavorful. Instead of a roux or cornstarch slurry to act as a thickener, we just packed in even more flavor by stirring in condensed cheddar cheese soup. Condensed cream of chicken can work in a pinch, and you’re more than welcome to stir in your own, homemade condensed soup, but we had this on hand and must say it complemented all the flavors perfectly. Once that goes in, you just add in your rice and shredded chicken and you’re in business!
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (1.0 oz.) package dry ranch seasoning mix
1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cheddar cheese or cream of chicken soup
2/3 cup uncooked white rice
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
real bacon bits, garnish, optional
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sauté onion, carrot and celery for 8-10 minutes, or until softened.
Season with salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, ranch seasoning and paprika.
Add garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until fragrant, then stir in chicken broth and condensed soup.
Stir in chicken and rice, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until rice is fully cooked.
Add bacon bits, then taste and adjust seasoning, if desired. Serve hot.