Here’s another warm soup for this cold January weather. I like this Chicken and Wild Rice Soup because the flavor is simple and an old favorite – who doesn’t like chicken and rice? It’s creamy but not at all thick… unless you leave it on the stove for awhile, in which case it will thicken up. This soup is one of my go-tos for serving a crowd. The recipe makes just under 4 quarts, so there is plenty to share.
This recipe has several steps and some chopping, and it uses a very thin white sauce. The steps aren’t difficult, but it does take a few hours to make this soup.
Source: My sister (the graham cracker sister, as a friend called her after reading the story from the Graham Cracker Crust recipe)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sliced carrots
3/4 cup sliced celery
3/4 cup chopped onion (Recipe calls for sweet yellow or Vidalia, but I use frozen chopped onions to avoid the eye-burning, teary disaster that occurs when I chop onions. Plus, using frozen onions cuts down on the chopping.)
2 quarts chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes (or soup starter)
1 6-ounce package of long grain and wild rice mix such as Uncle Ben’s original (not quick cooking) with herbs
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (baby bella and portabella are my favorites)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 quart milk (I use 1%, but whatever you usually buy should be fine)
1-1 1/2 teaspoons salt (If you’re someone like me who tends to add salt to things, go with 1 1/2.)
3 cups chopped cooked chicken (two pounds of chicken tenders should yield more than you need)
Saute chicken tenders until just done. Then cool and slice.
Put in refrigerator – the chicken will be added at the very end of the process.
Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in stock pot over low to medium heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion.
Saute for about 10-15 minutes or until the onions are tender. The carrots and celery will continue to soften throughout the rest of the process.
Stir in the broth, bouillon cubes, wild rice mix, and seasoning packet.
Simmer for 30-40 minutes or until rice is tender.
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, saute the mushrooms in a little butter or oil until tender.
Make a white sauce: Heat 2 cups of the milk in the microwave for a couple of minutes until hot but not boiling. In a medium saucepan, melt 1/2 cup of butter over low heat and whisk in flour.
Gradually pour in milk while whisking.
Add salt. Add remaining milk and stir constantly until thickened. As you stir, make sure you are scraping all around the bottom of the pan to prevent a faster cooking layer developing on the bottom.
Add white sauce, mushrooms and chopped chicken to the rice mixture and stir, cooking just until thickened to the level you desire.
I like this soup fairly thin, so I do not leave it on the stovetop very long. If you’re serving a crowd and have the soup sitting on the burner for awhile, it will thicken as it sits. The higher the heat, the faster the thickening occurs. Serve with toasted bread.
If you’re not serving immediately, separate into a few containers for faster cooling. Refrigerate once it has cooled. This soup keeps well in the refrigerator for a few days and freezes well too. I have served this at gatherings in the past couple of years, and it’s always a favorite.