You just never know what you are going to get when it comes to springtime in the Rockies. We have had a stretch of warm wear-short-sleeves kind of days and now today snow. I had originally taken pictures and planned a post for a lovely spring dessert that might be nice for a spring bridal or baby shower or a First Communion or Mother’s Day, but the overcast sky and snow today brought me right to warm and hearty soup. I love soup. I love how you usually get all the elements of a good meal in one pot–meat, vegetables, starch. It is just so cozy and homey. It’s the kind of meal that should be followed by a family movie night snuggled up on the couch or maybe a wild game of Uno. That was not to be this time. Our soup tonight was followed by a church garden planning meeting, so I guess we Colorado people are always optimistic that spring and summer will come eventually.
This soup has been a surprise hit with my kids. They actually cheered and said “yay!” when I answered the “what’s for supper?” query tonight. Snow=soup in their minds too. And they actually like this one. Even the chicken hater said it was “really good.” So there you go.This has become one of my favorites also, and though I am not super excited about the snow, I am kind of glad I didn’t have to wait until fall to have a reason to share this recipe with you. I am not sure if it’s really all that accurate or not, but I associate wild rice with Minnesota. It seems like everyone there had a wild rice hot dish (that means “casserole” for any non-Minnesotans who might be reading this) or soup or cake. Just kidding about the cake…but I wouldn’t be surprised. I know Panera restaurants sell a wild rice soup, but it is not a menu item I have come across too often outside of Minnesota. You betcha this soup is good, though. 🙂 [Fun fact: I did a little more research about wild rice and found that the Great Lakes region is one of very few areas where wild rice is grown and that it is the official state grain of Minnesota.]
*I originally found this recipe on a Weight Watchers-friendly website, so if you choose your ingredients wisely, this delicious comfort food can be reasonable for your diet too. Enjoy!
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups (32 oz.) less sodium fat free chicken broth (I use two of the regular size cans and a little water if that’s all I have on hand, and it’s fine. Otherwise, the box of broth is usually 32 oz.)
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast (cooked and shredded or uncooked–there are two methods below) [I always use chicken that has already been cooked–leftovers from a previous meal or leftovers from a rotisserie chicken or else I like to bake it in the oven with olive oil, salt, and pepper. You could also use canned cooked chicken.]
- 1 box of Long Grain and Wild Rice, do NOT prepare (Uncle Ben’s has a 6 oz. box and Zatarain’s has a 7 oz. box–I use either one)
- 1 cup diced carrots
- 1 cup diced celery
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) light butter (I have not seen light butter in sticks, so I have just used regular–there go all the Weight Watcher points right there!)
- 2 cups fat free half and half (I don’t usually keep this on hand, so I have used milk when I do not have 1/2 and 1/2 with good results.)
- Dice the carrots and celery and shred the cooked chicken (if using) and set aside.
- Bring the water and chicken broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the rice (with seasoning packet), carrots, and celery. (If you are using uncooked chicken breast, add it to the pot now also.) Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked through and easy to shred. Remove the cooked chicken breasts to a plate and shred with two forks.
- While the rice and vegetables are cooking, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until combined. In a small to medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in flour mixture a spoonful at a time to make a roux. Pour the milk or half and half in a little at a time, stirring continuously with a whisk or fork to combine well. Continue whisking and adding the milk until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Continue cooking and stirring until the mixture thickens.
- Add the shredded chicken (the previously cooked chicken you prepared in step 1 or the chicken you just cooked in step 2) and the cream mixture back into the soup pot and stir to combine. Bring back to a simmer and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow soup to thicken and flavors to combine. The soup may seem thin at first, but it should thicken nicely after a few minutes.
Source: Adapted from Emily Bites