In the cooler months, I make soup at least once a week. My big green Le Creuset pretty much lives on top of my stove all winter long. Soup is not only comforting to eat, but I really enjoy making it. I know there can be a lot of chopping and prep involved with a good soup, but I actually like that part. If I can paint a picture for you…Cold night, sweats on, occupied/content children, BIG glass of wine, while making soup = perfect evening for me! I feel like all the work that goes into prepping each ingredient is like adding little “layers of love” to your pot. Kinda cheesy, I know, but that is how I feel about soup.
This soup really turned out to be so delicious. The little bit of cream and yogurt give it a richness that is satisfying without being over the top. It is definitely a “lightly” creamy soup, not a thick and creamy one. The wild rice is the star of this soup and it gives it such great flavor. To save time, I bought an organic rotisserie chicken at Whole Foods and it was perfect for this. I like when a little of everything can fit on your spoon, so I cut my potatoes and carrots into smallish cubes and I chopped the chicken into pretty small pieces to match the size of the veggies.
When you add the yogurt at the end, don’t forget to temper it a bit with some of the warm soup so that it doesn’t separate from the heat. I talk about this trick in my post for Corn Chowder. It is such a great way to add a little rich, creamy flavor without adding too much fat. You can leave out the cream, or add more to suit your preference. Also, remember that salt is pretty key in making a soup taste great. I think the biggest issue with recipes that end up being on the bland side is simply a lack of salt. Salt brings out the flavor of every ingredient in the pot, and getting the right amount is pretty crucial. You can always add, so go slowly. And keep in mind that chicken stock will vary on salt content so you really have to taste as you go. I used regular (not low sodium) stock for this soup and added about 2 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Makes 6 – 8 hearty servings
- 3 tablespoons butter
- splash of olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, diced
- 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered or sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup wild rice (5 ounces)
- 2 medium gold potatoes, diced
- salt and pepper
- 3 cups cooked chicken *See note below
- 1/2 cup low fat or full fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
In a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat (I used my 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset), melt the butter and add the splash of olive oil. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until they give off all of their liquid (you may need to turn up the heat a bit). Add the garlic and thyme and cook a minute or two more. Add the flour and stir well to incorporate it with the veggies. Cook the flour for a couple minutes letting it brown a little but being careful not to burn it.
Add the stock and the water and stir well scraping up any bits of flour from the bottom of the pot. Add the rice and potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with the lid cracked open just a bit and simmer for about 35 minutes, checking/stirring every 10 min or so to make sure it stays at a low simmer and not a boil.
Add the cooked chicken and cook for about 10-15 more minutes or until the rice done and the potatoes are tender. Temper the Greek yogurt by adding it to a small bowl and ladling about 1/2 cup of the hot soup stock from the pot in with the yogurt. Whisk until smooth, then add to the soup. Next stir in the heavy cream and parsley and turn off the heat. Check for seasoning and add more salt/pepper if needed. Serve with crusty bread and a glass of buttery chardonnay!