Angie is a high school friend of the hubby's, and she makes wonderful chocolate chip cookies. And pizza. And wontons. And nachos. And everything else that she's ever cooked for us. She sent this recipe to me a few weeks ago, and if Angie likes it, it's gotta be good. And pretty quick. Angie's a busy woman.
Wild rice is very popular in this area, because it's the state grain of Minnesota, which is right across the river. Wild rice is actually a water-grass seed rather than rice, and the grass from which it is harvested grows abundantly in the Minnesota lakes country. It's quite hardy and flavorful, making it a good addition to soups. It's my favorite of all the grass seeds.
I love chicken and wild rice soup -- with cream, without, with bacon, without, with mushrooms, without, high-fat, low-fat, etc. But always with crackers.
This recipe makes a pretty big batch, and I'm heading off to deliver a container to the hubby's older sister. She's been a godsend these past several weeks. She brought us food when the little man was born, has already babysat for us, and periodically checks up on me to make sure I'm still mostly sane (relatively speaking). And this week, she's helping the hubby's younger sister, who has a new baby and is moving into a new house. And THEN she and my mother-in-law volunteered to bring most of the Thanksgiving feast to our house on Thursday. So yeah, she deserves a lot more than a container of soup. But we'll start small.
And then I'm delivering a container to my little brother. He just likes soup.
I made just a few tweaks to the original recipe -- I halved the amount of oil, and tossed in a bay leaf and some sherry. I also used a long grain and wild rice combo. Wild rice is harvested by hand, making it quite spendy. It's easier to find it mixed with long grain rice. And even though I could probably walk to Minnesota and harvest some myself, I couldn't seem to find JUST wild rice at the local supermarket. I hope I'm not doing a disservice to Angie's recipe.
Angie's Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
3 c. cooked wild rice or long grain and wild rice combination (1 c. uncooked)
1 large onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 rib celery, diced
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 dried bay leaf
1/4 c. canola oil or olive oil
1 c. flour
8 c. chicken broth
Additional salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbsp. dry sherry (optional)
1 c. fat-free half and half
1. In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat oil to medium-high. Add onion, carrot, celery, and chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add bay leaf. Sauté about 3-5 minutes, or until the veggies are softened.
2. Sprinkle in flour, a little bit at a time, stirring and cooking until flour is blended in. (Don't let it brown.)
It'll start to look very paste-like, but this is OK. This is forming the roux to thicken up the soup, and your veggies and chicken will again return to their usual forms.
3. Slowly add chicken broth, stirring until the broth and roux are blended.
4. Add the wild rice, and adjust your seasonings. Heat thoroughly.
5. Add the sherry and the half and half. Reheat gently, but do not boil. Remove bay leaf before serving.