Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Here on the Cwach farm, the days are getting colder, the nights are getting longer, and its inhabitants are getting hungrier (namely, the mother-to-be!) That means only one thing- it’s soup season.

Each year, as soon as the first snowfall hits, hearty soups become a permanent fixture in the Cwach kitchen. It’s a great way to sneak in plenty of vegetables, while keeping my farmer warm during the frigid winter days when he’s out checking cows or moving snow. We are constantly on the hunt for new recipes that are full of flavor, deliciously creamy and most importantly, fuss-free.

Needless to say, when I saw this recipe for chicken wild rice soup shared by a friend, I was instantly intrigued. Too many times I’ve suffered the disappointment of a bland wild rice soup that tastes watered down, not rich and creamy. After making a big pot of this the first time, we quickly put it on the next week’s menu, and then the week after that. In a short time, it’s become our favorite soup to throw together on a cold winter’s night with little effort spent in the kitchen.

This soup starts with the classic mirepoix, a French culinary term for the combination of onions, carrots and celery. We’ve changed the original recipe slightly to use more carrots and celery than the typical mirepoix ratio (traditionally two parts onion to one parts each carrot and celery), but the idea is the same – to instill flavor into your soup. We just happen to love hearty vegetable soup so we add plenty of extra carrots and celery, but feel free to cut back the amount to suit your tastes.

As you prepare this soup, be sure to season liberally with salt and pepper, starting with a light seasoning and adjusting as you taste your soup. Remember, while you can always add more salt to the dish, you can’t take it out! You can poach or roast your own chicken breasts, or use pulled meat from a rotisserie chicken. If you don’t have a can of evaporated milk on hand, you can put 2 ¼ cups whole milk in a saucepan and simmer until reduced to one cup. We prefer to use the whole-fat evaporated milk over the low-fat or non-fat varieties for a richer, creamier taste, but any of those varieties will work.

This chicken wild rice soup is special enough to be served on Christmas Eve, but can easily be prepared in 30 minutes or less on a weeknight. Garnish with shaved cheese, chopped green onions or minced chives for a simple yet stunning presentation.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients
¼ c. butter
1 large onion
2 c. chopped carrots
2 c. chopped celery
¼ c. flour
Salt and pepper
2 c. chicken broth
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 c. cooked wild rice
1 c. cooked chicken
4 oz. cream cheese

Directions
Melt butter in a stockpot and cook onion, carrots and celery until carrots are tender. Add flour and chicken broth, and season liberally. Add in evaporated milk, wild rice, chicken and cream cheese and stir on low heat until cheese melts.

Season to taste and serve.

*If you don’t have evaporated milk, put 2 ¼ cups whole milk in a saucepan and simmer until reduced to one cup.

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