I put the chicken breasts in a dutch oven and covered them with water. I added salt, peppercorns, five cloves of garlic, one quaretered onion, a carrot cut in chunks, and a quartered lemon. Yes! I admit it! I was in the mood for lemon! Again! I covered the pot and brought it to a boil, and then let it simmer for about an hour. The chicken totally cooked by then. Here's what the happy mixture looked like, bubbling away on my stove:
It's important at this stage to adjust your seasonings. I found I had to add about a teaspoon of sugar to cut the sourness of the lemon, and I had to add a bit more salt. But after an hour, the stock tasted pretty good. I took out the chicken breasts and strained the stock through a fine sieve. I cut the chicken meat from the bone and added it back to the stock. I also kept the garlic cloves and cut them up for the broth; I love how mellow garlic becomes once cooked gently like this. I brought it all to a boil once more and threw in about 1/4 cup of parboiled rice (as a rule I don't use parboiled, but I had some kicking around from my work's kitchen and it has less starch in it so it worked well). I added more garlic, freshly pressed, and after about 20 minutes, I had soup.
Usually, when making stock, I simmer the bones and aromatics for the better part of the day. This was a super-quick version that turned out well. All I needed was something quick and soothing on a wintry, yucky day, and this hit the spot. I'm sure over the next couple of days the flavours will meld a bit more.
You cannot beat homemade soup. I rarely eat anything canned these days because the sodium content is way too high for my palate. And it doesn't take forever or an advanced degree. It just takes a little imagination and a little patience.
FYI, here is another fabulous chicken soup recipe, though a little heavier and probably not suitable for someone with the flu.