These early spring days still have me all bundled up, so Canja de galinha, a Brazilian chicken and rice soup, is what’s for dinner tonight.
Canja de galinha literally translates to something like chicken congee, so like, ya know, chicken and rice soup.
Canja is a very popular soup, not only in Brazil, but also in Portugal and Cape Verde, and each place has their own recipes and traditions for how to make, how to eat and when to eat this dish.
In Brazil, canja is traditionally made with the whole chicken, or with whole pieces of chicken, such as wings, or legs including the bone as well as the skin. When prepared this way, this soup is known as canja gorda (fat congee) because of all the fat from the chicken skin that dissolves into the soup.
The lighter version of this Brazilian chicken and rice soup, the one I’m about to show you how to make, is known as canja magra (skinny congee), and is made with boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
When we were upset or sick, my mom would always make us some canja to either heal our hearts or our broken bodies. And boy, it works!
Canja is like true love in a bowl.
So whether you want to help someone heal, or just want someone to feel all warm inside, give them love in a bowl! But don’t forget to also take a picture, share with me on Instagram by tagging me or using #cookingwithaline. Cos I want in on all this love, k?
Canja | Brazilian Chicken & Rice Soup Step by Step
Ok, so, I use an instant pot for this recipe, but a regular, old school stove top pressure cooker works too – that’s how I used to roll a couple of years back, and how my mom still makes her canja. If you don’t have either, you can just cook it in a normal pot, but the liquid quantities and the time to cook will change. K?
To start, season the chicken breasts with some salt and pepper, and set aside.
Then, heat up the olive oil using the ‘saute’ function of your instant pot.
When the oil is hot, saute the Brazilian sofrito until fragrant, about 2 mins. By now life should be smelling s’wonderful!
Add the chicken, and brown both sides – about a minute per side.
Add the tomatoes…
Annnd the thyme and stock. Then close the pan, and set the instant pot to 25 mins on manual, and let it cook.
After 25 mins, safely release the pressure, turn off and open the pan when you are able.
BE SAFE, por favor!!!!!!
Remove the tomato skins, and the thyme sprig and discard.
Using a wooden spoon, “smash” the cooked chicken to shred it. Like, seriously, you’ll never want to shred chicken any other way… this is so easy and fast!
After the chicken is shredded, turn the pot back on using the ‘saute’ function and add the rice, and the veggies, and top with 6 cups of water.
And just let it cook open (still on saute function) until the veggies and the rice are fully cooked – about 10 mins or so. I prefer to keep everything fork tender, but still firm. Some people like to cook the rice and veggies until they practically dissolve. You decide!
Woohoo! You Made Canja!
To serve, just drizzle a little (or a lot of!) olive oil on top, and BOOM!
Canja de Galinha | Brazilian Chicken Soup
- 1.5 lbs about 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 Tbsp olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 Tbsps of Brazilian Sofrito or 1/2 an onion, diced plus 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 roma tomatoes halved and seeded
- 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1.5 cups of chicken stock or water + 2tsp of chicken bouillon
- 3 large carrots peeled and cut into rounds
- 1 celery stalk diced
- 2 potatoes peeled and diced
- 1/2 cup of uncooked white rice washed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Season the chicken breasts with some salt and pepper, and set aside.
- Heat up the olive oil using the 'saute' function of your instant pot.
- When the oil is hot, saute the Brazilian Sofrito until fragrant, about 2 mins.
- Add the chicken, and brown both sides - about a minute per side.
- Add the tomatoes, the thyme and stock. Close the pan, and set the instant pot to 25 mins on manual, and let it cook.
- After 25 mins, safely release the pressure, turn off and open the pan when you are able.
- Remove the tomato skins, and the thyme sprig and discard.
- Using a wooden spoon, "smash" the coked chicken to shred it.
- After the chicken is shredded, turn the pot back on using the 'saute' function and add the rice, and the veggies, and top with 6 cups of water.
- Let it cook open (still on saute function) until the veggies and the rice are fully cooked - about 10 mins.