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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

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Chicken and wild rice soup is a hearty and comforting dish that combines tender chicken, wholesome wild rice, and aromatic vegetables in a rich broth. This soup is not only delicious but also nourishing, making it perfect for chilly days or whenever you crave a bowl of warm goodness. Here’s how to prepare chicken and wild rice soup from scratch, along with tips to enhance its flavors:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wild rice blend (or 1/2 cup wild rice and 1/2 cup white or brown rice)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups chicken broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half (optional, for a creamy texture)
  • Fresh parsley or thyme for garnish

Instructions:

1. Cook the Wild Rice:

  • Rinse the wild rice under cold water.
  • In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
  • Add the wild rice, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until the rice is tender and has absorbed most of the water.
  • Drain any excess water and set the cooked wild rice aside.

2. Prepare the Soup Base:

  • In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add chopped onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté until vegetables are softened, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add minced garlic, dried thyme, and dried rosemary. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

3. Simmer the Soup:

  • Pour in chicken broth and bring the mixture to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

4. Add Chicken and Rice:

  • Stir in the cooked chicken and cooked wild rice.
  • Continue to simmer for an additional 10 minutes, or until the soup is heated through.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Optional Creamy Texture:

  • If desired, stir in heavy cream or half-and-half to add a creamy texture to the soup. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.

6. Serve:

  • Ladle the chicken and wild rice soup into bowls.
  • Garnish with fresh parsley or thyme for a pop of color and freshness.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

Tips for Success:

  • Wild Rice Varieties: Use a wild rice blend or a combination of wild rice and brown rice for a mix of textures and flavors. Adjust cooking times accordingly based on the type of rice used.
  • Enhance Flavor: For added depth of flavor, consider using homemade chicken broth or adding a splash of white wine while sautéing the vegetables.
  • Storage and Reheating: Chicken and wild rice soup stores well in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop over low heat to maintain its flavors and texture.
  • Customization: Feel free to add additional vegetables such as mushrooms, peas, or spinach for extra nutrients and color.

Nutritional Benefits:

Chicken and wild rice soup provides a balanced mix of carbohydrates from rice, protein from chicken, and vitamins from vegetables. It’s a wholesome meal that satisfies hunger and provides essential nutrients.

Pairing Suggestions:

Serve chicken and wild rice soup with crusty bread or a side salad for a complete meal. It pairs well with a light-bodied white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp apple cider.

Conclusion:

Chicken and wild rice soup is a classic comfort food that warms both body and soul. With its hearty ingredients and comforting flavors, this soup is perfect for family dinners or gatherings with friends. Enjoy the nourishing goodness of chicken and wild rice soup any time of year, and savor each spoonful of this delicious homemade dish!

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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