Still, I love this soup! It's great for sick days. Studies have shown there is actually something about having chicken soup to make you feel better when you're sick. But it's good for any other time, too...
One whole chicken (or a BIG can of chicken stock)
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
one whole jalapeno, seeded and diced
a big handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley
1-2 cups brown rice (it's better for you than white rice)
3 chopped carrots
3-4 chopped celery stalks, including leaves
1 medium diced onion, (instead, I like to use 5 or 6 green onions, but any will do)
1-2 tablespoons of cumin
4-5 sprigs fresh oregano
salt to taste (you might not need any if you use canned stock)
about a tbsp red pepper (if you want it a little spicy)
Put your whole chicken in a stock pot with enough water to almost cover it (within an inch or two). Boil for 45-60 minutes. About halfway through, flip chicken (I use a big set of tongs) over in pot and continue to boil. You can cut into it to make sure nothing inside is uncooked. Take chicken out and set aside to cool. Now use your "chicken water" for soup stock. Throw in garlic, jalapeno, parsley, and rice. Boil five mins.
TIP: Any soup that has rice in it needs the rice to cook FIRST. THEN add your other ingredients that don't need as much cooking. Otherwise, if you add all ingredients at the same time, the rice will be mushy and gross by the time the soup is ready.
ALSO: Ordinarily, I like to add herbs last. This way their flavor is not overcooked, but bright and fresh. But in this case, for the parsley, it doesn't hurt.
Now add your carrots and celery and allow to cook another five mins. Add onion. A few mins later, add cumin, oregano, salt and red pepper.
DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE JALAPENO! When you take the seeds out, you're taking out most of the heat. It adds good flavor and is good for metabolism.
You can eat it with crackers or toast. I like to sprinkle fresh grated parmesan to let it melt on top... Mmmm!