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Spanish Chicken and Rice Soup


  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • 1/4 cup broken vermicelli or thin spaghetti (1 inch pieces)

  • 1/2 cup long grain white rice

  • 4 cups chicken stock (32 ounces), divided

  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, rinsed

  • 1 small white or yellow onion, peeled and halved

  • 2 fresh bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 5 ounces Spanish chorizo, chopped or crumbled, casing removed, such as Gaspar's or Trois Petit Cochons

  • 1 large Spanish yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped

  • A few ribs celery from the heart, chopped

  • 1 red chili pepper, thinly sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or very thinly sliced

  • 1/4-1/3 cup diced piquillo pepper or drained pimento peppers

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • A pinch of saffron threads (about 20 threads)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika or sweet paprika

  • 1 can fire-roasted diced or crushed tomatoes (15 ounces) or 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies (15 ounces)


Place the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Melt the butter and toast the pasta for 2-3 minutes, or until golden in color; add the rice and stir to coat. Add 1 cup stock to the pot and bring the mixture to a bubble. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the parsley; turn off the heat and cover. Let stand to cool. Fluff the rice with a fork, then place in container and store in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, place the rinsed trimmed chicken breasts in a shallow pan with the onion and bay leaves and cover with just enough water to come up to the top of the chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer and gently poach to cook through, about 12 -15 minutes. Place the chicken in a bowl and shred the meat with two forks. Reserve the stock.

While the chicken poaches, start the soup by heating a Dutch oven over medium-high heat with a turn of the pan EVOO. Add the chorizo and brown for a couple of minutes. Add the Spanish onion, carrots, celery, chili pepper, garlic and piquillos to the pot and season with a little salt and some black pepper. Cook for 7-8 minutes to soften, then stir in the saffron threads and paprika to combine. Strain the chicken cooking liquids, about 2 cups, into the pot then add the remaining 2 cups chicken stock and the chicken, chorizo and tomatoes. Bring the soup to a bubble; simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors, then cool completely, cover and place in the refrigerator for make-ahead meal.

To reheat and serve, place the soup over medium to medium-high heat, covered, stirring occasionally until heated through. Add the rice to the soup and return the soup to a bubble. Serve in shallow bowls.