Place a large 6-8 quart pot over medium heat. Add the butter. Once melted add in the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, stirring to soften.
Add in the thyme, bay leaf, chicken thighs, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the dried rice.
Cover and simmer for 12 minutes. Then use tongs to remove the chicken thighs. Use two forks to shred the chicken into bite-size pieces. Continue to simmer the soup uncovered, while you shred the chicken.
Mix the grated parmesan cheese with the cornstarch. Stir the chicken back into the soup. Continue stirring as you add the parmesan mixture into the soup. Simmer another 2-4 minutes to thicken the soup base.
Taste. Then salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaf and stir in the fresh parsley. Serve warm.
This recipe is gluten free as-is. It can also be dairy-free if you remove the parmesan cheese and swap the butter for olive oil.Soups with starchy ingredients (like pasta or rice) do make good leftovers if eaten within the next 24-48 hours. However, the rice/pasta will continue to absorb the broth and make the mixture more of a thick stew. You can add additional broth to loosen the soup when rewarming.