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Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil, once hot at the chicken. Cook until the surface is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Add onion, celery and carrots. Saute and cook until the vegetables are lightly browned, 3 minutes.
Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper, saute for 30 seconds.
Add the rice, stir and cook for 2 minutes to toast the grains.
Add the chicken, water, chicken broth, and bay leaf.
Bring the broth to a boil, cover the pot and reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Simmer the soup until the rice is tender and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC), about 20 minutes. Check after 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed.
Turn off the heat and remove the bay leaf and chicken from the pot. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into smaller pieces then add back to the soup.
The rice may absorb water as it sits, add more chicken broth if needed. Taste the soup and season with more salt and pepper as desired.
Serve each bowl topped with chopped parsley.