I've been wanting for a while to try making soup. Tonight on a whim I tried it. I didn't measure much, so forgive the vague amounts.

I haven't made soup from the start with my brother-in-law, but I know he starts with a whole chicken in cold water. I think he uses a shorter grain rice for this, and perhaps sharp paprika instead of sweet paprika. But I used what I had handy since this was started on a whim. He serves it with corn tortillas and lime slices. You salt a tortilla, squeeze lime onto it and eat it with the soup. Alas, I have neither lime nor corn tortillas, but his soup would be fine alone.

2 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless
6 quarts of water (? up to the rivets in my big saucepan)
2 stalks celery
half a big sweet onion
2 carrots
? salt
1 tbsp? white pepper
1.5 tbsp ? thyme
3 tbsp ? paprika
4 or 5 whole cloves
4 small bay leaves
1/2 tsp cayenne (probably didn't need this)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Better Than Bullion chicken base

I started with the two breast halves in cold water and some salt. Probably not enough salt now that I think about it. While they were heating I started cutting my vegetables. Well actually I had to put some clean dishes away, then load the dishwasher, then wash some knifes, then cut my vegetables. I'm quite sure the chicken was in the pot too long, but I think that's survivable if I keep the water at a simmer like I did. I just dumped each veggie in as I finished cutting it.

Before, during or after veggies I put in the thyme, bay leaves and cloves. After the veggies I still wasn't sure which way I was taking the soup. Mexican rice soup was a known target if not a known path, but I was toying with just having rice and chicken broth or using potatoes instead of rice. I decided to put the paprika in and added more salt and some white pepper and cayenne.

I arbitrarily added 2 cups of rice, stirred everything around and tasted it. It seemed thin and bland, so I put more salt, more white pepper and added the chicken base. I was concerned that there was too much water and the soup would be too thin, but heck this was my first try at soup, and I wasn't even going by a recipe.

My brother-in-law takes the whole chicken out at some point, pulls it and returns the meat to the pot. Alternatively I just chopped up the boneless, skinless chicken in the pot a bit with the spoon and a spatula.

I covered and simmered for 15 minutes. There was more rice volume than I expected, and to my surprise the consistency of the soup was just about right.

I immediately made myself a bowl after taking it off the heat. It was really too hot to eat, but it seemed edible. I added some more salt to taste. As it cooled I was pleasantly surprised that it is indeed edible. It may even be yummy. I'll have a more objective opinion after later helpings.

Questions:
Does the soup need to cool before serving?
If I keep it to a simmer, will the chicken overcook?
When should I add each ingredient for best results?
How would this work with potatoes instead of rice?
What is the right amount of veggies to use? I think I want more for more flavor, but then the soup would be bulked up with mostly veggies.

Update: The rice soaked up all the juice while cooling. And I wound up not eating the leftovers. It wasn't flavorful enough.