Creamy Wild Rice Soup

These past couple of months Cole and I have needed to reduce the amount of pasta we have been consuming. This gave me a bit of a dilemma after Thanksgiving, because my mom had given me a bunch of shredded turkey meat. My usual after Thanksgiving soup is Homemade Noodle, but with pasta being on hold, that wasn’t an option. However, rice wasn’t off limits, so I decided to start experimenting with a soup that I had actually only eaten once in my life: Wild Rice Soup. Now, there was a reason I had only eaten it once before. I had tried a cup at a restaurant and HATED the way the wild rice crunched while I was eating it, but after a bit of research I realized that the restaurant’s soup had been flawed, and the rice had been cooked incorrectly, leaving me with a biased opinion of whether or not I actually enjoyed it. Throughout my research, I came to the conclusion that there really was no other reason that I shouldn’t like this dish. Afterall, I enjoy all the ingredients that are typically in it. When creating my own rendition of this soup, I doctored it up in typical “Courtney Style,” aka added a bit more garlic than usual, decreased the celery amount, and increased the amount of meat, rice, and heavy whipping cream. Knowing that Cole likes his soups to be thick and not very brothy played heavily into these decisions. Just like my Homemade Noodle Soup, I like that this recipe is versatile. If I have chicken I need to use up, I can utilize it, or if I have turkey, that can also be used. Either way works! 

Ingredients

⅔ cup Chopped Celery

⅔ cup Coined Carrots

½ cup Chopped Onion

1 tbsp Minced Garlic

4 tbsp Butter

¼ cup Flour

2 ½ cups Cooked Chicken or Turkey

14 cups Water (Divided)

4 tsp Better Than Bouillon -Chicken or Turkey 

½ tsp Dried Thyme

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 cup Wild Rice

1 ½ cups Heavy Whipping Cream

½ to 1 ½ tsp Salt

Directions

1. Chop the celery stalks and onion into ¼ inch pieces and coin the carrots into about ¼ inch thick pieces. Place all the veggies including the garlic onto a plate and set off to the side. 

2. Create a thickening roux by melting the butter into the bottom of a large pot and mixing the flour into it. Once the butter and flour have combined, pour the veggies into it and stir it continuously for 5 minutes. 

3. Add 8 cups of water into the pot and dissolve the four tsp of bouillon into it to create a broth mix. 

Kitchen Tip: The directions on the bouillon jar will say to use 1 tsp of bouillon per cup of water. Ignore those directions. The bouillon has a bit of sodium in it and will cause the soup to be waaaaay too salty if you follow a one-to-one ratio. 

4. Add the meat, dried thyme, and black pepper into the soup and simmer on medium-low for one hour. Don’t be surprised when a bit of the liquid disappears over this time, more water will be added in later on. 

5. Pour the rice and another 6 cups of water into the pot, cover it, and simmer for 50 minutes. 

Kitchen Tip: It is extremely important to leave the cover on the soup for the full simmer time after adding the rice in. The extra steam built up is what allows the rice to soften and the black shells on each grain to crack open. If a cover is not put on during the simmering step, the rice will remain hard and crunchy. Reference the picture below to see what cracked open rice looks like. 

6. Once the rice has been steamed open, add in the whipping cream and ½ tsp salt. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. After the time is up, do a taste test. If the soup is to your desired saltiness, don’t add in anything else, but allow it to continue simmering uncovered for another hour to combine the flavors and thicken the cream. Personally, I added another tsp of salt before the last hour of simmering, but if you are trying to be healthier or watching your sodium intake you may want to stick to the ½ tsp. 

One thing to note while cooking this soup is every stove is a little different. During the last hour of simmering time, I encourage you to take taste samples of the rice. Rice texture is extremely important to whether or not you will love this soup. Wild rice does take a long time to cook to perfection, but it is possible that a taste test 45 minutes into the final simmer may prove that your soup is finished early. Feel free to lessen the final cook time if necessary. If the soup is finished, but you aren’t ready to serve your meal yet, throw a cover on it and keep it warm on the lowest setting your burner will go on. My stove has a warming center that I use in this scenario.

I know a lot of people prefer making soups in their slow cookers, but because wild rice can be a little tricky, I recommend following the directions and making this on a stove top instead. I am definitely curious as to if this would turn out in the slow cooker, but in an abundance of caution, I’ve decided not to risk it with this one. 

My final suggestion for this recipe is to make up a batch of Italian Herb and Cheese Buns with it. They taste absolutely delicious dipped into the creamy broth!

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