Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

If there's one good thing about winter, it's comfort food. Soup tops my winter comfort food list. The infinite variety means I can make soup every week without hubby saying I'm repeating myself.

But underneath that "infinite variety" there are a few basic recipes. This is a variation of a basic chicken soup made extra-delicious with wild rice and plenty of spices and seasoning.

Like many soups, this one starts with a "mirepoix", a combination of chopped onions, carrots and celery sautéed in four tablespoons of butter.

After about five minutes, add half a pound of sliced fresh mushrooms and continue to cook until the onions are translucent.

Then add a clove of minced garlic and sauté for another minute, being careful not to burn the vegetables.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of flour over the vegetables and stir it all together.

Add the half-and-half or cream and stir well, using a whisk if needed to work out any lumps.

Then add the chicken stock and the seasonings (thyme, marjoram, sage, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste), and stir to combine.

It really was the bright yellow in this photo until I stirred in the spices and herbs, then it mellowed to a nice brown color.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, and add the chicken, rice, and wine. The wine of course is optional, it will still taste good without wine.

Simmer the soup for about half an hour, or a little longer if you like the rice more tender. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Serve with crackers or a nice crusty bread.

This is a really tasty soup, and the wild rice makes it very filling. I hope you'll enjoy it too.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1/4 cup butter (4 Tbsp)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 lb sliced fresh mushrooms
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
5 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp each of thyme, marjoram, sage and rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups wild rice, cooked
1 lb chicken, cooked and cubed
3 Tbsp white wine (optional)
1 cup half-and-half or cream (or milk, if that's all you have in the refrigerator)

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan. Add the onion, carrots and celery and saute over medium heat for about five minutes.

Add the mushrooms and continue to saute until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook carefully for another minute, being careful not to let it burn.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and butter and whisk together. Cook this for a few minutes to avoid a “raw flour” taste.

Whisk in the half-and-half, then whisk in the chicken broth. Add the thyme, marjoram, sage and rosemary; add salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat. Add chicken, cooked rice, and wine. Let simmer for 30 minutes (or longer if you want the rice to be more tender). Serve.

Chicken and wild rice soup with fresh mushrooms

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