Sorry for the lack of posts of late. To make up for the absence, here is a hearty, flavorful Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice Soup for your enjoyment. 🙂 Given it’s Fall, it’s the perfect Fall lunch, appetizer or main course. Of course, inasmuch as Thanksgiving is almost upon us, this is something you could make with leftover turkey, too. Give it a try. 🙂
Wild rice is one of my favorite things in the world. I love the chewy, dense texture with the nutty, vegetal taste. It’s really remarkable stuff and has been considered a delicacy in the US for years. There’s even a species of wild rice grown in Texas along the banks of San Marcus River. This species ,however, (somewhat like Texas liberals) is becoming extinct due to loss of habitat and pollution. Not surprisingly, you don’t find Texas wild rice at your local market. Instead, the wild rice that is commonly found at your grocer is a species native to the Great Lakes region of North America. Further, despite its name, wild rice isn’t a rice at all. It’s the seed of an aquatic grass and has been eaten by people since prehistoric times. Early North American inhabitants, especially the Ojibway, Menomini, and Cree tribes in the North Central region, used the grain as a staple food and called it Manomio – “good berry.” These natives introduced European fur traders to the good berry who took it back to Europe where it became a very popular dish. Early English explorers called this aquatic plant wild rice or Indian rice. The French, on the other hand, saw a resemblance to oats and called it folle avoine. Other names include Canadian rice, squaw rice, water oats, blackbird oats, and marsh oats. Given our English heritage, the name “wild rice” persisted and it is now the common international name for this aquatic grass seed.
While not a “superfood” wild rice has great nutritional benefits. Indeed, wild rice is high in protein, lysine and dietary fiber It’s also low in fat and, like true rice, it’s gluten free. It is also a good source of certain minerals and B vitamins. One cup of cooked wild rice provides 5% or more of the daily value of thiamin, riboflavin, iron, and potassium; 10% or more of the daily value of niacin, B6, folate, magnesium, and phosphorus; 15% of zinc; and over 20% of manganese.
Of course, the real reason I eat wild rice is because it tastes so darn good. 🙂 It is wonderful when combined with fowl of all kinds and is a common accompaniment during the holidays for duck, turkey, chicken, game hens, pheasant, quail, etc. It also works well as an accompaniment for pork tenderloin, pork loin and makes a beautiful dressing for a pork crown roast. You can add mushrooms, scallions, nuts, and cranberries to it to change the character of the dish or you can steam it with various stocks or just water. It’s also wonderful in this soup. Give it a try. You will like it. This is what we did.
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 1-1/2 cup water
- 5 chicken thighs (skinless but bone-in)
- 10 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
- 2 large shallots, minced (roughly 1/2 cup)
- 1/3 cup celery, small dice
- 1/2 cup parsnips, small dice
- 2 large jalapeños, seeded and small dice (roughly 1/3 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (roughly 2 Tbsp)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- sea salt & pepper, to taste
- chopped chives for garnish
First thing first, steam the rice. Add 1-1/2 cups water, a pitch of salt and 1/2 cup wild rice to a small pot. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until tender and the water is absorbed.
While the rice is cooking, add oil to a large pot over medium-high heat.
Sweat the veggies for 5 minutes or until the garlic becomes aromatic. Now add the chicken stock.
Bring to a boil and add the chicken thighs.
Return to a boil, reduce heat medium and allow chicken thighs to poach. Poaching the chicken thighs in the broth allows the chicken meat to retain much of its flavor. Also, poaching allows the meat to maintain it’s moisture. After 20 – 30 minutes, remove the chicken thighs from the pot, remove the bone, dice the chicken and set aside.
Put the thigh bones back in the pot, increase the heat to medium high and allow to cook another 30 – 45 minutes to extract all of the goodness from the bones.
Next, remove the bones and, using an immersion blender, puree the veggies in the pot.
Add Salt, to taste
Add wild rice
the chicken meat
and heavy cream
Now, heat everything thoroughly and thicken by any means you wish, i.e. arrowroot, tapioca, non-GMO corn starch, etc. – your choice based upon your dietary needs and habits. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh chives, serve & enjoy. 🙂