Spanish chicken and rice soup

Spanish chicken and rice soup

William Meppem

This rustic soup, a kind of liquid paella, is enjoyable with or without the seafood. It is excellent as a pick-me-up if you are feeling a little weary.


Quantity Ingredient
1.1kg free-range chicken
100g long-grain rice
1 quantity Spanish chicken stock
250g chicken wings, cut open at either end
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, sliced thinly on the angle
100g kipfler potatoes, peeled and sliced 2 cm thick
1 large carrot, diced
1 large leek, well washed and cut on the angle into rounds, white part only
2 corn cobs, kernels removed
1 red capsicum, roasted, peeled and diced
1 red onion, diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon saffron threads
2 x 175g chorizo sausages, sliced
8 green prawns, shelled and deveined
500g steamed mussels, most removed from their shells but leaving some in the half shell, for presentation
100 g small zucchini, sliced 2 cm thick
100g grape tomatoes
250g calamari, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped
1/2 bunch tarragon, leaves chopped


  1. In a large saucepan, cover the whole chicken and rice with the Spanish chicken stock. Cover with a lid and poach slowly over a low heat, for 1 hour 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, season the chicken wings with paprika and pan-fry in olive oil over a medium heat until golden-brown. Drain the oil off, cover the wings with some of the chicken poaching liquor and cook gently over a medium heat for 15 minutes until the wings are well cooked. Remove from the stock and allow them to cool at room temperature. Carefully remove the bones from the wings (using the open ends to pull the bones out), leaving the wings intact, and refrigerate until required.
  3. Once the whole chicken is cooked, remove it from the stock and allow the chicken to cool, reserving the stock and rice. In a separate large saucepan heat a generous amount of olive oil over a medium heat. Fry the garlic, then add the vegetables, except the zucchini and tomatoes. Cook gently together until soft. Season and add the saffron, then add the stock with the rice and bring to the boil. Cook for about 25 minutes.
  4. While the soup is cooking, remove the meat from the whole chicken and shred into decent-sized pieces. Discard the skin and bones. Refrigerate the shredded chicken until required.
  5. When the soup is done it should be thick and rich from the now well-cooked rice. Keep warm, covered by a lid. Reheat the chicken wings in a frying pan over a medium heat with a little more olive oil. To the same pan add the chorizo sausage slices and fry until crisp, then add the prawns. Cook for 1 minute. To the soup, add the shredded chicken, steamed mussels out of the shell, zucchini, tomatoes, calamari and herbs. Bring back to the boil gently, stirring as it simmers. Serve in large, deep bowls, topped with mussels in their shells, prawns, chorizo and chicken wings.

Chef’s note

  • It is important to overcook the rice to release as much starch as possible. This thickens and enriches the soup, almost like a Spanish version of congee.
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