Canja de Galinha: Brazilian Chicken and Rice Soup
Nothing is more comforting during the long winter days than a steaming bowl of soup. This creamy chicken and rice soup recipe is so simple but so delicious, we are sure you’ll be making it regularly. Standard chicken and rice soup gets an upgrade with fresh cream, herbs, and potatoes for an even heartier dish. Serve it with a slice of crusty bread for a perfect weeknight meal, or sip it to soothe a sore throat.
Brazilian Chicken and Rice Soup
Brazilians typically do not eat chicken and rice soup with cream. However, we are taking a little artistic license and adding a spot of cream for a more satisfying texture and mouthfeel. The cream makes the broth silky and less greasy, although you can certainly leave it out if you want a clear broth.
Brazilians do add a twist to their canja de galinha in the form of potatoes. This is not an ingredient typically found in American creamy chicken and rice soup, but it should be! The potatoes add another layer of texture and make the soup more satisfying. One bowl is usually plenty with this hearty soup!
Why Do We Eat Chicken and Rice Soup When We Are Sick?
Chicken soup has earned a reputation as the go-to meal when fending off an illness. There are countless versions all over the world. The 12th century Jewish philosopher and physician, Maimonides, gushed about the concoction’s ability to provide nourishment to pregnant women and aid in the curing of various diseases. To this day, a version of chicken soup with dumplings is called “Jewish penicillin.”
The reasons why chicken soup is so healing might be attributed to several factors. It is often more palatable than other dishes when loss of appetite has occurred. The broth offers much needed hydration, while the salt provides electrolytes. The remaining ingredients ensure a balance of protein and carbohydrates, helping the body stay strong while it fights the illness. Chicken itself is rich in amino acids that assist with the breakdown of pesky secretions, such as excess mucus.
Our recipe for creamy chicken and rice soup also features diced tomatoes. This may sound like a strange combination, but the tomatoes add a beautiful brightness to the soup, not to mention a healthy dose of vitamin C (a must if you are making the soup while sick).
Should You Pre-Cook Rice for Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup?
We recommend using pre-cooked rice in this recipe. You can use uncooked rice, but you may need to add more broth, since the rice and potatoes will soak up a good deal of the liquid quite quickly.
For this reason, this creamy chicken and rice soup is a great meal to use up leftovers. You can make it even easier on yourself by using leftover chicken breast or a rotisserie chicken shredded with forks.
Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup Recipe (Canja de Galinha)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
1 celery stick, diced
2 large yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped into ½ inch cubes
2 tomatoes, diced
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups cooked white rice
2 tsp salt, or more to taste
Pinch of ground cloves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced (or 1 tsp dried)
- Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil.
- Add in diced onion, carrot, and celery. Saute for 2-3 minutes until softened.
- Stir in garlic. Saute for 1 minute more. Add salt, pinch of clove, and a few grinds of pepper.
- Add in potatoes, minced thyme, whole chicken breasts, and chicken stock.
- Bring mixture to a rolling boil, then reduce to medium.
- Simmer for twenty minutes, until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are fork tender.
- Remove chicken breasts to a plate and shred with two forks.
- Return shredded chicken to soup. Stir in heavy cream and add cooked rice and the diced tomatoes. Simmer for ten minutes more until the soup is heated through.
More Delicious Brazilian Recipes to Try:
- Portuguese Green Soup (Caldo Verde)
- Slow Cooker Moqueca (Fish Stew)
- Short Rib Stew (Vaca Atolada with Yuca)