Spicy chicken and rice soup

January 23, 2008

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Serves 8

You can substitute noodles for the rice here. When the 20 cloves of garlic are roasted, their flavor mellows. Use less if you like.

20cloves garlic, peeled
2tablespoons olive oil
1whole chicken (about 4 to 5 pounds)
1large onion, chopped
6medium carrots, sliced
3celery stalks, sliced
12to 14 cups chicken stock
1tablespoon grated lemon rind
Juice of 2 lemons ( 1/2 cup)
2tablespoons chopped fresh mint or 2 teaspoons dried
1teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2teaspoon cayenne pepper
2bay leaves
3cups cooked white or jasmine rice (or 8 ounces dried egg noodles, cooked until tender)
2tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley
Salt, to taste

1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Place the garlic in a small baking dish. Sprinkle with the oil, cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes or until the garlic is tender and golden.

2. In a stockpot, place the chicken, onion, carrots, and celery. Pour 12 cups of chicken stock over the chicken and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the roasted garlic, lemon rind and juice, mint, cinnamon, cayenne, and bay leaves. Lower the heat to medium, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the chicken is tender. Carefully remove the chicken and place it in a bowl to cool.

3. Remove and discard the skin and bones from the chicken. Shred the meat into bite-size pieces.

4. Spoon off the fat from the top of the soup. Return the soup to a boil. Taste it. If it tastes too concentrated, add 1 to 2 cups more stock, or use water. Stir in the chicken, rice (or noodles), and basil or parsley. Season with salt and serve hot. - Adapted from "New England Soup Factory Cookbook"