Sunday Supper: Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

In an attempt to continue to expand my culinary horizons, I’m challenging myself to try a new recipe each week.
I’ll relate my triumphs and failures here, just in time for your Sunday supper.
food collage

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:

Cook rice according to package instructions. wild rice

While the rice is cooking, sauté onion and carrot in butter for 2-3 minutes. (Use a large pot—eventually all of the rest of our ingredients will end up in here.)food 005

Stir in broth, cubed potatoes and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli, simmer for 7 more minutes. food 017

Add cubed chicken and rice to simmering vegetable mixture. Heat through. In a separate bowl, mix flour and half-and-half until smooth. Slowly stir it into the pot of vegetables, chicken, and rice. food 023

Bring to a rolling simmer, serve with crusty bread. (Isn’t everything better with crusty bread?) Absolutely delicious. food 036Take a bowl of this and a book to someplace with a pretty view for lunch this week. Trust me, it’ll change your life.  

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