My sister came down with a sore throat recently. Switching into the role of sister-nursy-poo, I decided to make a comforting dinner to help boost her immune system (and of those of us residing in the close quarters of possible germ inhalation). I made an awesome chicken and rice recipe a few months ago from She Wears Many Hats for a friend recovering from surgery, so I thought it would be a good idea to pull that one from the archives of my beloved Pinterest board – with a slight makeover. In order to add more nutritional value to the dish, I introduced carrots and arugula, which are in their peak season now. Slow cooking a soup using whole bones and introducing bone marrow into the broth, as I did last month with Ham Bone and Black Eyed Pea Soup, contains such wonderful healing nutrients that can help boost the immune system, protecting the body from infections, fatigue and weakness. Adding a boost of carotenoids, vitamin C and phytochemical from the veggies just adds to the healing power of this dish. Simple yet powerful. Comforting to the body in so many ways.
What is more comforting that a warm bowl of slow cooked chicken and rice? Maybe my super adorable boxer taking time to smell sunflowers, but I draw the line after that…
Seasonal Nutritional Highlight – Arugula
Arugula is a leafy vegetable known as the salad rocket. It typically grows well and fast in cool weather and is seen throughout spring in many regions. Hot temperatures tend to make it more bitter. Arugula is grown wild in southern Europe and tends to taste differently depending on how it is grown and which region it resides from. Small tender and milder flavored leaves are typically used raw in salads, while the larger more mature leaves are cooked into dishes due to their stronger flavor. Rich in phytochemicals, folate, chlorophyll, Vitamins C and K, arugula contains benefits such as cancer, birth defect and osteoporosis prevention. This green ‘garden rocket’ is a member of the Brassicaceae family, the same as kale, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables. Add a handful to your next salad for a nice peppery flavor.
Homemade Chicken and Rice
- 1 whole organic chicken approx 4 pounds
- 4 stalks celery and leaves, chopped
- 2 cups carrots chopped
- 2 onions chopped
- 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/2 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tsp oregano
- 3 cups jasmine rice
- 3 - 4 large handfuls arugula
- water for cooking chicken about 14-16 cups
Place chicken, celery, carrots, onions, salt and herbs in a large stockpot and cover with water.
Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
Cover and let simmer for 2 hours, or until chicken is tender and pulls apart.
Drain chicken and ingredients from stockpot, reserving liquid in another pot (DO NOT DRAIN LIQUID!!)
Set chicken aside to cool and shred when cool enough to handle, discarding skin, bones and any giblets.
Place empty stockpot back on medium heat and add 7 cups of broth, rice, shredded chicken, cooked vegetables and arugula.
Simmer for 15 minutes and add more stock if needed until rice is done and water is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes more.
Serve warm and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Save your leftover chicken stock by storing in freezer bags (1 cup portions) and freeze until needed.
What is your favorite comfort food?