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February 4, 2011
Soup for Supper
Punxsutawney Phil may not have seen his shadow, but I don't think Mother Nature got the message. Parts of America are blanketed with snow and ice and more winter weather is on the way. My neck of the woods doesn't have snow or ice right now, but it's cold outside. It's the perfect day to fix a pot of soup for supper.
I never was a fan of chicken and rice soup until I tried a bowl of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup at a restaurant a few years ago. I absolutely loved it and immediately started searching for a recipe so I could make the soup at home. The recipe I found isn't a "copycat," but it's similar.
The recipe calls for cooked and chopped chicken breasts. Since no other directions were given, I cook the chicken in a pot of saltwater. I use bone-in chicken breasts with the skin since they have more flavor than boneless, skinless chicken breasts. However, you could substitute grilled chicken breasts instead.
The cooking time can be greatly reduced if you prepare some of the ingredients ahead of time. I cook the chicken the day before I make the soup. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, I remove the skin and bones. I chop the breasts into bite size pieces and store them in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Two cooked and diced chicken breasts.
The next morning, I cook the long grain and wild rice using the directions on the box, omitting the butter or olive oil. Once the rice is cooked, I let it cool before storing it in a covered container in the refrigerator.
While the rice is cooking, I dice the onion and grate the carrot. Since I buy baby carrots, I grate three since that's about the equivalent of 1/2 a regular sized carrot. I store the onion and carrots together in a resealable plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Three grated baby carrots.
You'll need chicken broth for the soup, either homemade or canned. My chicken broth isn't flavorful enough and pales in comparison -- literally and figuratively -- so I use two 14.5 ounce cans of chicken broth. If you want a thicker soup, use less; a thinner soup, use more.
Can you guess which broth is mine?
It's the pale one on the left.
When it's time to cook supper, there's very little work left to be done. The onion and carrots need to cooked in oil until tender, the remaining ingredients added and everything simmered until heated through.
This recipe makes six servings. If you want soup for a group, the recipe can easily be doubled. No matter which size batch you make, you'll need to add more liquid when you reheat the leftover soup. You can add water, but I highly recommend adding chicken broth. Water dilutes the wonderful flavor of the soup.
You'll need to add liquid -- preferably chicken broth --
before you reheat the leftover soup.
I serve the soup with a French bread baguette which is how it's served at the restaurant. Although this soup is delicious, I still wouldn't mind having the recipe from the restaurant!
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup 6 Servings
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 carrot, grated
1 Tbsp. oil
2 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of chicken soup (undiluted)
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)
1 (6 oz.) box Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice, cooked
2 (14.5 oz.) cans chicken broth or equivalent amount of homemade
salt and pepper to taste
Cook onion and carrot in oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients. Heat thoroughly over low heat.
Note: Add more broth for a thinner soup; less for a thicker soup.