Lockdown Soup

Lockdown Soup


I don’t think I need to bring you up to speed on the state of the world at the moment. If you’re like me, you’ve been glued to your phone for the last 15 days, absorbing every bit of breaking news, CDC guidelines, celebrity singalongs, and more.

As a personal chef, you might think I’m perfectly suited for a challenge like this. Meal planning and prepping are my job! I started two weeks ago with good intentions: I planned balanced meals for my family. With all the extra time coming my way, I planned to tackle more involved baking projects like homemade sourdough and fresh croissants.

Things have not gone exactly to plan. Let me tell you, the days are just packed. Wallowing in existential dread is taking up a good chunk of my day and the rest is spent keeping a 2-year-old entertained. We ate cereal for dinner last night. Baking? No such luck.

And, dear friends, it’s all ok. A friend shared an inspiring quote on social media the other day: “You don’t need to make the best of a global pandemic.” Right now, our top priorities are to stay safe and healthy, and to do what we can to help others do the same. I promise you this: you will not look back on this time and regret not learning how to make perfect croissants! 

But, we still need to eat. Like you, I am looking for recipes that are simple, quick, tasty, comforting and that use ingredients I may already have. I present to you, Lockdown Soup! It meets all of my criteria. So put on some good music, take a few deep breaths, and give it a whirl.

Lockdown Soup

Adapted from “Feel-Better Chicken and Rice Soup,” Bon Appetit, Andy Baraghani

This is a version of a Chinese congee, or rice porridge. The rice is not fully broken down as in congee, but it softens enough to add body to the soup. It’s dairy-free, and gluten-free if you use tamari.

Total time: 35-40 minutes

Feeds: 4


5 boneless chicken thighs (about 1 lb)

⅓ cup jasmine rice, rinsed

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 2″ piece ginger, grated

3 carrots or 3 small sweet potatoes, cut into 1/4″ rounds

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari sauce

½ bunch cilantro or 5 scallions, chopped

salt and pepper, to taste


Bring chicken, rice, garlic, ginger, and 5 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add a big pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until rice has swelled and chicken is firm, 10–12 minutes.

Add carrots or sweet potatoes to pan and cook over medium-low heat, still uncovered and stirring occasionally, until soup is thickened and potatoes and rice are tender, 15–20 minutes longer. Transfer chicken to a bowl and shred with 2 forks, then return to pot. Stir in lemon juice and soy sauce; taste soup and season with salt if needed.

Divide soup among bowls. Top with cilantro and/or scallions and black pepper.


contributed by: Chef Stacey O’Farrell