Soup du jour

When the weather turns cold and rainy, I love to put a pot of soup on the stove, build a fire and snuggle up on the couch with a blanket and a good book. Or maybe some groovy tunes on my new iPod. And that's exactly what I did not so long ago - I ran across this recipe for Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup while cleaning out some of my recipe archives and I thought it would be the perfect way to use up the rest of my frozen Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. I'm normally not a huge fan of cream-based soups and sauces (and aren't my hips glad of that!) but since I had all the ingredients on hand, I thought I'd give it a try anyway. The recipe as originally written called for stewing a whole bird and then using shredding the meat and using the stock but since my poultry was already cooked, I didn't have that option so I just substituted with an appropriate amount of canned chicken broth. I also used half white rice and half wild rice because I didn't have a full package of the wild on hand.

The soup was a bit rich for me, but I did enjoy it, albeit in small quantities. I packaged the rest of it up and stored it in the freezer, which is another favorite thing of mine to do. There are nights when I come home from the kitchen and have absolutely no idea what I want to eat, let alone the desire to actually prepare something, so I just grab a container of soup from the freezer, nuke it for just a few minutes while throwing together a salad and some crusty bread or crackers, and after just a few minutes I'm enjoying a hearty, comforting dinner.

I'm submitting this to Cyndi's Thursday Soup Night over at Ruminations, so hop on over there later in the week and see what comforting soup or stew Cyndi is cooking up!

Serves 8

1 1/3 cups (8 oz) uncooked wild rice (I used a combo of white and wild)
1 - 3 pound broiler-fryer chicken, cut up (I used leftover turkey)
7 cups water
1 cup carrots, diced
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
3/4 teaspoons white pepper (black is OK)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup flour
4 cups milk (or use 2 cups Half & Half and 2 cups milk for extra richness)
3/4 cup dry white wine

Partially cook wild rice according to package directions; drain off liquid and rinse. Set the partially cooked rice aside.

In a large Dutch oven or stockpot, combine the chicken and water and bring to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from broth and let stand until cool enough to handle. Skim fat from broth. Strain and reserve broth. Remove chicken meat from bones. Cut into bite-size pieces.

In the same pot, cook onion and celery in hot oil until translucent and soft, 5 to 10 minutes. Add carrots, stir and cook for 4 more minutes.

Remove from heat. Return broth to the stock pot.

Add partially cooked wild rice to the chicken broth. Stir in the granules, white pepper and salt. Bring to boiling and then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter; stir in the flour until smooth. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir until bubbly. Stir into soup mixture. Stir in the chicken pieces and the dry white wine; heat through.



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