Now that I’m entering the home stretch of pregnancy, I’m hit with a double whammy. I’m too tired to cook many nights, but I also want to make sure we have a good store of freezer and pantry meals ready for the little one’s arrival in a month or so. This has resulted in a lot of boring, but nutritionally sound, meals that just aren’t that much fun to talk about. Mostly, a TON of soup. Since most soup recipes serve 6-8, one batch will yield enough for Erik and I to eat for two meals plus one or two quart jars of soup in the freezer. Not exciting, but very practical.
We finally did hit on a meal that is both. This wild rice soup is based on a recipe from the very “ladies who lunch” River Room at Dayton’s in St. Paul. Yep, Dayton’s. It was hard enough to call it Marshall Fields, although I finally got used to it, but I am NOT calling it Macy’s. Anyway…I digress. We’d sometimes meet my dad there for lunch on special occasions when we didn’t have school, but he had to work. I always felt pretty special and grown up. This is, hands-down, the best wild rice soup out there. It’s not overly rich, but is nonetheless silky and delicious. If you’re feeling very indulgent, make some popovers and have a real River Room experience.
Note I: I’ve tweaked the recipe to use a very unattractive leftover roast chicken.
If you don’t happen to have one sitting in your refrigerator, you can use homemade or canned chicken stock and some sort of pre-cooked chicken – grilled or poached breasts or thighs would work well. You could also pick up a rotisserie chicken for dinner and then make this the next day. The possibilities abound!
Note II: You’ll need to pre-cook the wild rice. My favorite way to do this is to mix 1 cup of wild rice with 3 cups of water in a covered baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour to an hour-and-a-half or until the rice has absorbed the water and is nice and fluffy. This will give you WAY more rice than you need for this dish, but I happen to like having extra in the refrigerator. It makes a quick side dish or an interesting addition to oatmeal in the morning.
Minnesota Wild Rice Soup
Makes about 6 servings
|1 leftover||Roast chicken||Or 6 cups of chicken broth and about 1-1/2 cups of chopped meat (see Note I)||Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm|
|6 TBsp||Butter||Substitute chicken fat, if you’ve got some handy from that leftover roast chicken||Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm|
|1 cup||Onion||Chopped||Red Fire Farm|
|1 large||Scallion||Thinly sliced||Hutchins Farm|
|10 ounces||Button mushrooms||Sliced||Whole Foods from Pennsylvania|
|3/4 cup||Carrots||Diced||Red Fire Farm|
|1-1/2 cups||Wild rice||Cooked (see Note II)||Care package from my parents in Minnesota|
|1 cup||Cream||Highlawn Farm|
|5 TBsp||Dry sherry|
|2 tsp||Kosher salt|
|1-1/2 tsp||Black pepper||Freshly ground|
|2 TBsp||Parsley||Finely chopped||Drumlin Farm|
|1 tsp||Thyme leaves||Red Fire Farm|
- Pull the remaining meat off of your roast chicken. Aim for about 1-1/2 cups, but more or less won’t ruin anything. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Combine the chicken bones and 8 cups of water in a pot or slow cooker and simmer for as long as you can. In the slow cooker, I aim for 8 hours on low. On the stove, I let it go for at least a couple of hours, but it depends on when I have to leave the house or go to bed.
- Strain the chicken broth through a colander to remove the large bits and then a lint-free towel to catch the smaller pieces. You should end up with about 6 cups of broth. If you have more, hurray! Save it for later. If you have less, just add a bit of water to make up the difference. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Chop up all your vegetables.
- In a large pot, melt the butter and add the onions. Saute over medium heat until the onions have started to soften, 5 minutes or so.
- Add the scallion, mushrooms, and carrots to the onions and cook until softened, about another 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir until the flour and butter form a paste coating the vegetables, about a minute.
- While whisking, pour the chicken broth into the pot. The flour will help thicken the broth, but could also make it chunky. Whisking and slow pouring help to create a smooth soup. Simmer for 20 minutes (more or less…this is soup, after all, not wedding cake).
- Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until warmed through, another 5 minutes or so. Enjoy!