The other night I had a huge craving for some warm soup and the first thing that came to my mind was chicken soup. But, I decided to make a bit of a different chicken soup: Canja de Galinha. The recipe came from a cookbook that I had been given this week and earlier that day I had skimmed over this recipe and it had stuck in my mind. At first glance this recipe looked the same as any other kind of chicken soup recipe just with a few more ingredients. But, while I was making the soup my vegetarian brother-in-law asked me if I was going to post this recipe on my blog. I responded quickly, “I’m not sure if canja is really Brazilian.” But as soon as those words left my mouth I started thinking that canja might actually be more Brazilian than I think. Once I started thinking about it I realized that I hadn’t really heard of canja before coming to Brazil. So, once the soup was finished and a deliciously big bowl of it had made its way into my stomach I did a little bit of research.
It turns out that the Canja de Galinha that Brazilians make is very typical to Brazil; no other cuisine that makes canja makes it quite like the Brazilians.
The canja is a typically portuguese broth and is known for its simplicity and lightness. The canja is basically a seasoned rice broth with chicken. These ingredients, rice first then chicken, end up being cooked simultaneously with mint leaves added for finishing. Originally, the canja is a very watery soup. Often associated with health and healing canja has been given to sick people and eaten as a means to prevent illness. In Brazil the watery canja changes and instead is turned into a much more substantial soup with carrots and potatoes added to it.
So it is thanks to my brother-in-law that I did some extra research and realized that the Canja de Galinha that is made in Brazil is pretty unique.
150 g (3/4 cup) white rice
1kg (2.2 lbs) chicken breast and thighs
2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 liter (1 qt.) chicken stock
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
In a large pan drizzle with oil, sauté chicken. Add salt and celery and cook for a few more minutes. Pour in chicken stock, add carrot and potatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add rice, and cook for 30 minutes longer. Adjust salt and, if necessary, add water or chicken stock. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
You can cook the chicken and rice seperately, here are the changes you need to make! Place the chicken in a pressure cooker, cover with enough water and cook for thirty minutes. Remove the chicken from the broth and shred. Sauté the onions in a large pan with the oil. Add the salt and celery and cook for a few more minutes. Pour in the chicken stock from the pressure cooker and add the carrots and potatoes. Cover and let boil until the carrots and potatoes are fully cooked, add the shredded chicken and cooked rice. Let boil for 5 minutes. Add more stock if needed. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
For a PDF of this Recipe CLICK HERE!
What hides behind a chicken broth? It’s canja.