Canja (or Chicken and Rice Soup)

Maria Lawton's mother served canja on holidays and at special Sunday dinners and deployed it as a strengthening tonic when any of the family fell ill. Way more than “just chicken soup,” canja’s delicious creamy-lemony broth can be a special treat in your household, too.
Course Soup
Cuisine Portuguese
Servings 8


  • 1 small organic chicken or 2 pounds bone-in chicken parts
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • Seasalt, to taste
  • 1 cup medium-grain rice
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 egg yolks


  • Place the chicken in a large stockpot. Cover generously with water, and add the whole onion, whole clove of garlic, and a teaspoon of salt.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and then turn down to low and cook gently, lid ajar, for 60 - 90 minutes. When the chicken is cooked through and tender, but not yet falling apart, use a slotted spoon to remove it and the onion and garlic to a colander over a large bowl. Taste the broth for salt and adjust as needed.
  • Rinse the rice and add it to the broth. Continue to simmer, stirring it periodically.
  • As soon as the chicken is cool enough to handle, chop or shred the meat into small pieces, and stir it into the simmering broth. Discard the onion and garlic.
  • When the rice is fully tender and you are ready to serve, finish the soup. Squeeze the juice from half the lemon into a medium bowl. Beat in the egg yolks, then beat in about a cup of the hot broth. Stir the tempered mixture into the hot soup; keep stirring for a minute or two, or until heated through and slightly thickened, but do not boil.
  • Taste again for salt and serve immediately, along with the remaining lemon half, in wedges, on the side.
Keyword chicken, egg, lemon