With a little freezing rain and snow complicating daily life in Nashville over the weekend, I knew my cooking adventures were likely limited to what was already in my house. Since Saturday kicked off cold and clear, I thought soup would be perfect for lunch.
But to complicate things, I’d used up all my chicken broth a couple weeks ago making a really delicious chicken noodle soup in my new Instant Pot. I didn’t have beef or veggie stock, so if I was going to make soup, I was going to have to get creative.
Then, my eyes landed on three lemons I had sitting on my kitchen counter. I’m a Hello Fresh subscriber, and they often send lemons to use to make a quick, fresh salad dressing. It’s nice every once in awhile, but I often prefer the dressing I have in my fridge. So I sometimes just have random lemons lying around.
The lemons made me think of a soup I’d had years ago and loved: lemon chicken soup. That made my thoughts turn to the shredded chicken cooked and frozen, sitting in my freezer just waiting for a recipe.
Having never made lemon chicken soup, I google a couple of recipes and made up a plan that would work for me and the ingredients I had on hand. For a culinary experiment, I have to say it turned out pretty well!
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 cups water
2 packets granulated chicken bouillon (I used this one)
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 to 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
1/3 to 1/2 cup rice
Salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon pepper, to taste
Whisk together the juice of two lemons, cream of chicken soup, water, bouillon and milk in a large saucepan (or if you’re like me and obsessed with your Christmas gift, an Instant Pot). Stir in frozen shredded chicken. Zest about two teaspoons worth of the remaining lemon and add it to the soup mixture. Stir in the rice, then season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon pepper to taste. Thinly slice the lemon you just zested and add to the soup mixture, for added flavor and just because it’s pretty.
I simply set my Instant Pot on “slow cook” and let the whole thing simmer away for about 2 hours, coming to check on it periodically and adding seasoning as needed. This could easily be done in a stock pot over low to medium heat. Since you’re basically just waiting for the chicken to thaw, the rice to cook and all the tastes to meld together, it’s not a soup that takes forever.
I would have added some fresh parsley at the end if the ice hadn’t taken mine out! No matter, though. It was still a delicious, warm lunch on a cold day!