This recipe relies on leftovers from a roast chicken and stock made from the bones, which should be made in a crockpot the night before. Once the chicken has been eaten and the stock is made, it takes about 30 minutes to prepare. This recipe will feed 2 adults and 2 children. It makes a light one pot meal as is or can be served with salad, bread and cheese for larger appetites.
1 quart (or so) chicken stock, instructions for making stock are below
1-2 cups cooked, chopped leftover roast chicken, instructions for roasting a chicken are below
1 cup uncooked rice (basmati or jasmine is best)
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks or 4 chard stems, diced
handful of parsley and/or celery leaves, finely chopped
Start by making the rice. Bring 1 3/4 cup water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to boil in a small-ish saucepan, add the rice, put the lid on the pot, turn the heat down low and simmer slightly for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes more with the lid still on.
Put the stock in a pot, thaw it if it is frozen (mine usually is). Add the carrots, celery or chard stems and some salt. I like to start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there, but if your stock is already salty I'd start with less. Bring to a boil and simmer until the veggies are soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the leftover chicken meat and continue to simmer until the meat is warmed.
To serve, put a scoop of rice in each bowl and ladle soup on top. Put the celery/parsley leaves in a bowl on the table along with a pepper grinder and salt shaker and allow everyone to season and garnish their own bowl.
To make the stock:
You'll need to start the stock at least the evening before you want to make the soup.
Remove any remaining meat from the roasted chicken bones, store it in the fridge and put the bones in your crockpot. You can also throw in the chicken neck and any other bones that may have come with the bird. Peel and quarter an onion and add it to the pot, then fill it with water to about an inch below the rim. Cover and cook on low overnight.
In the morning, the stock should smell good, like chicken soup. If it seems undercooked, let it continue to simmer on low. It can continue simmering for most of the day. Strain the stock into a fat separator. Discard the bones, then pour it into containers and discard most of the fat floating at the top. The stock will get bitter if cooled with the bones and onion, so resist the temptation to put the entire pot in the fridge before straining and leave for the day.
Let the stock cool and then refrigerate or freeze it. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week, after that it can last indefinitely in the freezer. I like to freeze mine in glass jars, they don't break as long as I leave about an inch of empty space at the top and the width of the jar is not narrower at the top than the bottom (no neck). My favorite jars for freezing are 1/2 liter Weck mold jars, though Le Parfait Terrine jars also work well. Wide mouth canning jars work too, though many of them contain the chemical bisphenol A in the plastic coating of the lids, which is something I prefer to avoid.
To roast the chicken:
Instructions for roasting a chicken are here on Eating Dirt or in The Joy of Cooking, p. 579 of the 1997 edition. To summarize: bring the chicken to room temperature, remove the bag of organs and neck from the cavity (if there is one, sometimes there is not), preheat the oven to 400°, put the chicken in a roasting pan, rub it with salt, roast it until the thickest part of the thigh registers 180° on a meat thermometer, usually 45 minutes to an hour for a 4-ish pound bird.