Wild rice is the state grain of Minnesota. It is a very nutritious grain and is naturally found in the cold rivers and lakes. This grain is sold throughout the year but their usual harvest time is in August through September. It is no wonder that this Chicken Wild Rice Soup is so popular here. Whether it is in the cold winter or warm summer months, this soup is a bowl of comfort. It is one of my favorite creamy soups and I often go to a very popular chain of deli to get my fix.
There are quite a few versions of this soup out there and some add a can of condensed soup to it for ease of preparation. I prefer to make the soup from scratch with the addition of flour to achieve that thick creamy consistency. This step is not that much more work as the soup is relatively easy to prepare. You really can’t go wrong if you have all the ingredients on hand.
Wild rice does take a while to cook and so it must be precooked before being added to the soup. It is usually boiled in water until the grains split open. This will take about 45 minutes. The ratio of wild rice to water is 1:4. Once cooked, the split opened grains should be drained of any remaining water. They have a nice nutty flavor and may be added to salads, stuffing, and soups.
The recipe below was based on the Cream of Chicken Wild Rice Soup found at Panera’s Bread, a favorite of mine. I added some freshly chopped parsley for additional flavor, color, and texture. I must say that I was very happy with the way the soup turned out. It was delicious served with crusty bread.
- 1 cup (170g) wild rice
- ¼ cup (60ml) vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 large stalks celery, chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ¾ cup (115g) all-purpose flour
- 8 cups (1.9 liters) chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- 2 cups (300g) cooked chicken, cubed
- 8 oz (225g) mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 1 cup (240 ml) half-and-half
- ½ cup (25g) chopped parsley
Cook wild rice in 4 cups (960ml) of water for 45 minutes or until it fluffs up. Drain any remaining liquid left in the pot. Set aside.
In a large pot, add vegetable oil. Sauté onions, carrots, and celery until soften, about 3 minutes. Add dried thyme and all-purpose flour. Cook and stir for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour in chicken stock. Bring to a boil.
Add cooked chicken, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat and allow soup to simmer for 10 minutes.
Add cooked wild rice and pour in half-and-half. Bring soup back up to a boil and allow it to heat through, about 5 minutes.
Turn off heat. Stir in chopped parsley.
Update (August 7th, 2014): Many have asked for a slow cooker version. I finally got round to making it. Please click on the picture below to get to the post.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!