December 9, 2009

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Every year after Thanksgiving, my mom takes home the carcass of the turkey (with all the meat that my dad strategically leaves on it), and makes home-made turkey wild rice soup. I look forward to it almost as much as I look forward to eating turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving day. It is delicious and my mom is a wonderful soup maker. Yum.  

Unfortunately, I no longer live at home, so I rarely get to enjoy this gift of soupy deliciousness. Plus I don't have Thanksgiving at my house, so I don't ever get the leftovers to make soup (and to make an entire turkey just to make some soup seems a little excessive). So I settle for making Chicken Wild Rice Soup. Maybe you already have a recipe, and this is a total waste of my time. But I like talking about food anyway, so if you don't have a recipe (or if you don't love your recipe), I've made this a couple times (including last Sunday) and I've tweaked it and it is actually really good. If you are wondering - my mom doesn't really believe in following recipes which makes it very difficult to get a recipe from her. So I have to improvise! Here we go:

Lindsey's Chicken Wild Rice Soup

 The first thing I do is make my chicken stock. I cheat by simmering my chicken in fat free low sodium broth instead of water (more flavorful), with roughly chopped carrots, celery, onions, garlic and whatever herbs I have on hand (parsley, thyme, oregano, a little dill never hurt anyone, etc) plus a couple of bay leaves. Throw it all in a pot (leafy celery tops, onion skins and all), and SIMMER (don't boil hard because we want to use this chicken for the meat in the soup) for about 45 min or until the legs pull easily away from the chicken. Take the chicken out to cool, strain the broth into a seperate container and discard the vegetables. At this point I usually put the broth outside to cool so I can skim the fat off. 

I lied. The first thing I do is start the wild rice. It can cook in the oven while you are making the stock. So hopefully you are reading this recipe through first before you make it. I add chicken bouillon to the rice for some flavor while its cooking (one cube per one cup of water). If you like your rice a little firmer, take it out of the oven about 30 minutes before its done, because it will cook a little more in the soup. 

When the chicken is cool, pick it off the bone and cut it up. If you love your dog like I do,  you will save a few pieces of not-desirable-for-human-consumption pieces of chicken to put on his food that night. 
In the empty (but not washed) stock pot, saute chopped onions, carrots, celery and garlic in olive oil. You can use whatever amounts that you want...I usually use tons of veggies because it makes me feel like I'm being healthy. Once the veggies are starting to get tender, add the stock, the chicken, and the wild rice. Taste it and add seasonings as needed (bouillon, salt, pepper, and herbs). Remember that you will be adding milk/half-n-half/flour to this, so make it a little tastier than usual. I let it cook for a bit until everything is as tasty and tender as I like it. 

Next, you are supposed to make a roux with butter and flour, add heavy cream until its a thick paste, then incorporate some of the soup broth before slowly adding it to your soup. I don't do things this way. First of all, I have a serious problem with heavy whipping cream. My stomach is NOT happy with me when I eat it. Neither are my love handles. Also, I think the butter is unnecessary. Instead, I use 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of half-n-half. Heat that up in a saucepan, then slowly incorporate 3/4 cup of flour, whisking and stirring until smooth. Then stir some broth to the "roux",  before incorporating it into the soup. It doesn't make for as thick of soup, but it is very creamy and you can sleep better at night knowing you just knocked 1,000 calories off but didn't compromise flavor. Plus, this soup is packed with meat, veggies and much thicker do you need it?

At this point you will need to taste the soup to see if you need more salt/pepper/bouillon. 

This last step is optional. Normally, I LOVE to cook with wine.  It makes me happy. But just this one time, I actually liked the soup better without it. It pains me to say that. Either way, if you want to, you can add 3/4 cup of white wine to the soup at the end. If you would rather just drink the 3/4 cup of wine, be my guest!

Sorry that this is the world's longest post, and that it is not really in a very easy format for you to print out and use. 1) I'm too lazy to do that. 2) I like to post like I'm having a conversation with you people. It makes it feel less formal. 3) Even if I felt like copying the Pioneer Woman and adding a printable recipe at the end of the post, I have absolutely no idea how. Sorry!

Enjoy! Oh, and if you have any questions or need clarification please feel free to call, email or leave a comment here for me.

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