Chicken, Lentils and Rice Soup

1 whole chicken
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp ginger, minced
3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup red lentils
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper
dill to garnish

I make this healthy chicken soup on cold winter days, or when anyone in my family is ill. It is rich in protein, vitamins and immune-boosting ingredients.

I like to make my own chicken broth. I keep it simple, no other ingredients other than chicken and water. This makes the broth an excellent base, with a pure chicken flavor that does not compete with whatever I am cooking.

  1. To make broth, wash the chicken and remove innards. Put it in a stock pot and fill it with water 3/4 of the way full. Boil and simmer for an hour or so until the chicken is cooked and floating in the broth.
  2. Heat a soup pot on medium-low. Melt butter. Add ginger, carrots and celery. Cook until tender.
  3. Add rice and lentils. Mix until the rice and lentils absorb moisture.
  4. Pour chicken broth into soup mixture, about 3/4 of the way full. The rice and lentils will be absorbing the broth, so make sure the broth covers everything. Be prepared to add more broth throughout the rest of the cooking process.
  5. Take the chicken apart into small pieces and add it to the soup. I usually have leftover chicken and leftover broth for future use.
  6. Let it simmer until the rice is tender and the red lentils are soft and clear.
  7. Add shiitake mushrooms.
  8. Salt and pepper to taste. I usually add a whole lot (almost a fistful) more salt than pepper (five turns on the grinder).
  9. Serve hot and garnish with dill.
Usually, I put spinach leaves in with the shiitake mushrooms. The soup in this picture did not contain it.

Editor's note: Soups are a great way to ward off illness in the cooler months, which is especially important if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Soups for COPD should include lots of vegetables to provide you with the vitamins you need to stay healthy.