Once upon a time I went to a small Bible college outside of Knoxville. It was… well, rather awful. I often needed to escape. From everything— the dress requirements (your skirt touches the floor when you kneel. Pants and shorts are only for men, we wear knee-length culottes. But only if absolutely necessary. God prefers skirts), the feminine deportment classes (did you know that if you travel more than 5 hours alone with your fiancé, even if it’s to meet his family, your mother-in-law will know that you are a loose woman? And she will judge you for decades. Probably until she dies. Which you’ll likely be hoping for, since she’s apparently been judging you all that time), all of those insane dating rules (my favorite: during a church service, a guy and girl can’t sing from the same hymnal. Fingers might accidently touch and… well, we don’t actually know what might happen, but you’ll probably end up pregnant. You floozy.)
So escape was needed and escape I did, as often as I could, to downtown Knoxville where I –rebel that I was—would browse for hours at McKay’s Used Books (in my memory, the best of all possible bookstores), before taking my newly-acquired stack of books with me to the Panera Bread across the street. I’d order a bowl of soup and retreat with whatever book seemed most compelling to a little filigree iron table in an outside alcove. And just like that, I escaped.
After stirring up all of these memories, I kind of feel like this soup should have a grander name—something about liberation or rationality—instead, for clarity, I’ll stick with what Panera called it: Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. And although their version of the soup is definitely one of my favorites, it’s lovely to be able to enjoy it at home and to choose exactly what goes in it (perhaps mushrooms next time?) And this is much, much cheaper.
Here’s what you need:
- 1 1/3 cup quick cook wild rice, uncooked
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
- 3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fat-free half-and-half
Here’s what you do:
Bring to a rolling simmer, serve with crusty bread. (Isn’t everything better with crusty bread?) Absolutely delicious. Take a bowl of this and a book to someplace with a pretty view for lunch this week. Trust me, it’ll change your life.