We’ve made it all the way to the middle of November without being scathed by a cold or fever.  But with me and my  daughter coughing, and my son coming down with a low grade fever,  I’m thinking we might be on the verge of something nasty.  I think some chicken soup therapy is in order.  I was gonna make chicken noodle, but  I knew I had a better chance of my children eating a favorite of ours.   Arroz caldo best described is like the Greeks version of Chicken lemon rice soup.  Except better in my unbiased opinion. Lol’ing.   Filipinos describe it as a rice porridge.  It’s a hearty comfort soup when the cold weather kicks in. My parents always gave me Arroz Caldo as a kid during the winter when I was sick.  My father made this with whole pieces of  bone in dark meat chicken, the traditional way, which was putting uncooked rice in a pot and stirring constantly until he achieved a thick soup.  It’s the same method as making risotto except the end result is thinner.

This is exactly why I never tried making it.   I don’t like the high maintenance of having to hover over the stove for a long period of time.   So I was super excited when I found out how my Auntie Kristy made hers.  I once tasted hers and wanted to know how she made it.  So of course I interrogated her for the recipe.  She is always glad to tell me how she makes things, but she doesn’t measure so I have to memorize everything she says and go back and try it at home.  She told me she makes hers with day old rice which cuts the cooking time down tremendously.  She also gave other useful tips.  So when I made this at home, I was ecstatic that it turned out wonderful.  I brought it to a gathering and it was a hit.  Here is how I makey da zoup.  I hope I make her proud cause I tweaked a few things.

Note: you can adjust the measurements on this recipe depending on how much leftover rice you have.  Play around with it.  have fun!

1.) First things first, I pan fry 1 or 2 chicken breasts in a pan with a  tablespoon of oil with a little salt and pepper to taste.  Chop into tiny pieces and set aside

2.) Meanwhile, I saute minced garlic, chopped onion and a few dime size pieces of sliced ginger  with 1 tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot.

3.) I get out my day old rice and crumble it with my fingers to rid any clumps.  For this recipe, I cooked  4 cups of rice the day before which none of us ate, so I put it in the fridge.  It made roughly 10 to 12 cups of cooked rice.  I dumped it into my soup pot and added enough water just above the level of the rice. Then turned the heat on high.

4) Then, I added my chicken bouillon cubes, chopped chicken, chx stock, salt and pepper.

6.)  Once it starts to boil, you must stir it constantly.  Every  60 seconds roughly. And when it starts to thicken, maybe once every 30 to 60 seconds.  I find a wooden spoon works best.  Steel spoons cuts the rice up into a million pieces and you don’t want that.  Once it starts to thicken, add water 1 cup at a time, every few minutes until it evaporates and gets thicker.  Keep repeating and adding water, 1 cup at a time and stirring until it gets creamy and you have reached your desired consistency.  Adjust your salt and pepper to taste.  Fish out the ginger and serve with lemon wedges and chopped scallions for garnish

Note: you can adjust the measurements on this recipe depending on how much leftover rice you have.  Play around with it.  have fun!

Serves 10

prep time 15 minutes cooking time 25 minutes

Ingredients:

2 T cooking oil

10 cups of day old cooked rice

1 medium onion chopped fine

2 cloves minced garlic

3 to 4 dime sized sliced of ginger

1 or 2 chicken breasts  cooked and chopped into tiny pieces

2 chicken bouillion cubes

1 can chicken broth

1 1/2  tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp fine black pepper

Water

lemon wedges

chopped green onion for garnish

Method:

Pan fry 1 or 2 large chicken breasts in 1 T of oil  with a little bit of salt and pepper, chop into tiny bite size pieces and set aside.   In a large soup pot, saute garlic, onion and ginger for 3 to 4 minutes in 1 T of oil.  Crumble day old rice in a bowl and add to soup pot.  Add just enough water until  it covers the top of the rice.  Add cooked chicken, chicken broth, bouillon cubes, salt, pepper.  Turn the heat on high.  Stirring every minute or so with a wooden spoon until it starts to reduce.   When the soup gets thick, add more water 1 cup at a time until it gets thick and creamy stirring constantly (every 30 to 60 seconds).  You can make your soup as thin or as thick as you like this way.   This will take roughly 25 minutes, maybe even longer depending on your consistency.  Fish out the ginger pieces. Adjust salt and pepper at then end. Garnish with chopped scallions.  Squeeze 1 lemon wedge into soup and serve!

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