Wednesday, January 28, 2015

comfort food: creamy wild rice soup

It's that time of winter where the days sort of drag on. The sun hasn't made an appearance in days, and it's usually dark here before dinner is even ready. Blah. Don't get me wrong, I love winter, but our winters are long in Minnesota. I can send the kids outside most days, but there are times when we can go days without breathing in any fresh air. 

One of my favorite things to do while we are stuck inside is to make a giant pot of soup. I love to let it slowly cook on the stove all day, filling up the house with the aroma of comfort... It makes being indoors all day seem less like torture. If anything, we actually have something to look forward to---eating the soup. 

This recipe for wild rice soup turned out so good, I actually made it twice this week. I can't get enough of it! Someday I will update this post with nice photos, taken with my actual camera, of the soup & cooking process (I took these photos with my phone), but until then, this will do. 

What foods are comforting to you?

Creamy Wild Rice Soup with Chicken


*3 bone-in chicken thighs (about 1.5 lbs---omit if you want the soup to be vegetarian)
Approximately 3 cups cooked wild rice/rice blend of your choice
1/2 c chopped carrot
1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 c chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced (more or less, depending on your preference)
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp parsley 
dash or two of cayenne pepper
1 quart (32 ounces) of chicken broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian soup)

For the roux:
2 Tb melted butter
2 Tb flour
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream

*you could also use chicken breasts---this is just what I had on hand. The dark meat did however add a nice richness to the soup.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chicken in a pan, and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken. Bake until cooked through, but still juicy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 

Side note- this unfortunate pan is like, prehistoric. And gross. I promise it was actually clean, contrary to its appearance. 

While your chicken is roasting, prepare your rice according to the package directions. I had on hand this rice blend from Trader Joe's that was AWESOME in this soup. Set rice aside when it has finished cooking. 

Chop carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Cook in a large dutch oven/soup pot over medium heat in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Add seasonings listed above, and also salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until vegetables are cooked through. 

While the veggies are going, take chicken out of the oven and let cool. Pull the meat off of the bones and place in a bowl. You can do whatever you want with the skins and chicken bones---My husband and kids usually like to clean them off before I discard them. 

When the vegetables are cooked through, assemble your roux. Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish, then add the flour. Combine with a fork until it forms a paste. Add a couple of tablespoons of cream until it reaches a more liquid consistency. Pour roux into the vegetables and broth, and whisk in until combined. Add the rest of the heavy cream and let the soup thicken. 

After the broth and the cream have fully combined, add the rice and the shredded chicken into the soup. Stir together. Add salt and pepper to taste. 


P.S. This soup would be great with mushrooms, fresh herbs, etc. You can easily add your own twist to it, using whatever you have on hand. Let me know if you try it out, and how you decided to make it.

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