Thursday is soup day around here – the way schedules turn out, I totally don’t have time to cook for dinner anywhere near dinner time. So I make a soup in the morning, and all Will has to do is warm it up for dinner; it’s a beautiful division of labour.

This lemon chicken soup is one of the family’s Thursday favorites. A play on Greek lemon chicken soup, it calls for rice instead of orzo, and skips the egg. It’s tart and bright without being sour, and the rice makes it filling. The key is in preparing the chicken (which is also really lovely cooled and paired with salad greens), as the basil infuses the broth with an earthy-sunny flavor. Enjoy!

Apple’s Lemon Chicken Soup – serves 6-8

12 lemons, 11 juiced and strained (makes about 1c.)
3 chicken breasts
big bunch of fresh basil
garlic powder
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
5-8 peppercorns, to taste
olive oil (enough to pan sear chicken)
4 32-oz boxes of chicken broth
1c. parboiled rice* (like Uncle Ben’s or Carolina)

Prepare the Chicken

1. Cut slits almost through the chicken breasts (to look like shark gills).
2. Stuff these slits with fresh basil leaves
3. Turn chicken breasts over, squeeze with the juice of half a lemon, sprinkle kosher salt and grind on some fresh pepper to taste, then coat liberally with garlic powder
4. In a heavy bottomed pan (I like cast iron), heat olive oil to very hot, and place the chicken in, basil side up. Squeeze with the juice of half a lemon, sprinkle with kosher salt and grind on fresh pepper to taste, coat liberally with garlic powder.
5. When bottom of chicken is browned, turn chicken over, and brown top side.
6. Allow to cool, cut into pieces the size you like in soup.

Prepare the Soup

1. Place chicken, rice, and broth into a pot.
2. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
3. When soup is simmering, add lemon juice ** and peppercorns.
4. Skim foam from top, and stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom.
5. When the rice is cooked, your soup is done =D


*Seriously, use parboiled rice. Regular rice will come apart, causing your soup to become cloudy and grainy at best, porridgy-gruely at worst.
**Taste as you go – we like our soup rather tart around here, but you may like your milder.