Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

This soup is one of my favorites & now that the cold weather has officially settled in for a while, we'll be having a lot of it :) 

It's pretty forgiving. I use a combination of 2 recipes - one from a friend and one from my mom. 
You can do it in the crock pot or on the stove. Also, there are very few rules for me when it comes to soup. I often forget to measure. A little more liquid here, a few more veggies there... so, just use what you have on hand & it'll work out fine! 

*this makes a BIG pot of soup. I cut the broth in half and then just put in less veggies and flour-thickening mixture until it seemed the right consistency. It was plenty for the 2 of us to eat for a couple days. But I'll give the original measurements below & make some notes in pink.

8-10 Cups chicken broth and/ or stock. [I used half of each because it's what I had. My friend always uses bouillon cubes or powder. Forgiving, like I said.]
1 pkg Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice (use the 'original' longer cooking one). OR any other wild rice you have around is fine. 
3-4 Tbs butter
1 Lg sweet onion, chopped
Olive oil 
8 oz sliced mushrooms. [Could omit.]
ANY veggies you want [I generally prefer it with just mushrooms, but I've had it with celery and carrots too. I was going to put carrots in last time, but some kitchen elves stole our peeler. We have 4 drawers in our 30 sq ft kitchen and I literally have NO idea where it is.]
1/2 c. flour 
Milk or half-and-half
2-3 c. chopped chicken. [I never measure chicken. I usually use 2 good sized chicken breasts in soup. I'd probably use 3 if I was making it for a bunch of people.]

Add 8 c. chicken broth/stock/bouillon [I did 4 cups here] and uncooked wild rice to crockpot or large pot on stove. Set to high. In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Saute onion, mushrooms, (and any other veggies) celery and carrots about 10 mins. Season with black pepper and add veggies to crockpot/ pot. Stir in chicken soup base. [I just added 2 more cups of broth.] Cook on high 3-4hrs if in the crockpot. Cook on medium-high for at least 30 minutes on stove. [or more or less.... there are very few rules.]

You do this next part about 20 minutes before you're ready to serve it... either after the soup has been on the stove for 30 minutes or in the crockpot 3-4 hours.
In same skillet over medium heat, melt 1/2 stick butter, whisk in 1/2 c. flour slowly and cook 1-2 mins. Don't over cook. Gradually add 1/2 and 1/2 or milk whisking constantly. [I used a little half and half, and some milk.] Once smooth, add white sauce to crockpot and combine. [Do not rush this. Don't add it until the mixture is smooth. The first time I made this, I added it when it was slightly chunky and it was GROSS! It added what we affectionately called dumplings, that were actually little flour dough balls to our soup. We threw it out. Moral: be sure to stir the milk/flour/ butter mixture slowly and thoroughly and add once it's smooth.] 
Because I had cut the rest of the recipe in half, I only ended up using about half my flour mixture to thicken the soup. I like to pour it in slowly because I don't like it too thick and goopy. Don't feel like you have to use all of it.
Add chicken and cook for allow all ingredients to come to temp - 15 or 20 more minutes.

We love to eat this with a yummy bread to dip. French loaf, ciabatta, sour dough, beer bread - whatever!
Also, it reheats great... but you'll probably have to add some more water and/or chicken broth to thin it out.

Let me know if you try it!