I love chicken and wild rice soup during the cold winter months. It’s so comforting and my mom is going to read this and be like WHAT?! because I HATED wild rice as a kid. I hated wild rice with the kind of deep loathing most kids save for things like broccoli or being stung by bees.
All I can say is this luscious creamy comforting soup sold me on the value of wild rice. Im still not sold on eating it by itself but I will eat it in soup any day.
A hearty bowl of creamy flavorful chicken and wild rice soup with a side of crusty bread is the perfect winter meal.
Ingredients for how to make creamy chicken and wild rice soup
Wild rice blend: your favorite wild rice blend but make sure it isn’t instant or quick cooking for this recipe.
Butter: Butter is my fat of choice for this soup This makes the soup deliciously rich and the extra fat also helps prevent the milk from splitting.
Garlic: In addition to the mirepoix fresh garlic is the flavor base of this soup. You can replace with garlic powder or omit entirely if you are sensitive to garlic.
Thyme: You can use dried or fresh thyme for this recipe or swap with rosemary if preferred.
Bay leaf: I always add bay leaf to any broth based soup or stew. The subtle bitterness enhances the other flavors keeping them from becoming too heavy.
Mirepoix: this classic mix of carrots, celery and onion is the flavor base for this soup. Simply sauté in butter or olive oil until softened and fragrant. My family always know this smell means something good is coming.
Chicken broth: I like to use low-sodium chicken stock but regular or vegetable stock will work as well just adjust your salt accordingly. If you are a little short on stock you can add a little water as well.
Salt and pepper: Season to taste with kosher salt and fresh pepper.
Chicken: pre cooked chicken of any kind will work. We typically use leftover roast chicken or a rotisserie chicken for this recipe.
Flour: This helps thicken the soup and give it that quintessential creamy texture.
Cream: a splash of half and half or cream at the end to finish the soup makes it extra creamy and brings everything together.
How to make creamy chicken and wild rice soup
In a large dutch oven melt butter over medium high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and sauté until fragrant and beginning to soften. Next add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and sauté until fragrant.
Add the flour by sprinkling evenly over the sautéed vegetables and stir until everything is well coated.
Gradually pour in your chicken stock stirring as you pour to help the flour melt into the stock and prevent clumps.
Add the wild rice, bay leaf, and thyme to the pot. Stir until well combined. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the rice is cooked. This usually takes about about 30 minutes. Stir soup every now and then to prevent the rice from sicking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
Add your diced or shredded chicken into the soup and simmer until the chicken is warmed through. Finish with the cream and additional salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm with your favorite crusty bread or crackers and enjoy!
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Tips and Questions
Storing Chicken and Wild Rice Soup:
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or the freezer up to 3 months.
Tips for Reheating Chicken and Wild Rice Soup:
Stir in a little more liquid before reheating: The rice will absorb a lot of the broth while in the refrigerator so you will need to add milk, water or broth to the soup unless you like your soup THICK.
Reheat is slowly: to keep the cream from splitting I recommend reheating the soup on the stove over medium heat until warmed through.
If you are making the soup ahead and know you will be reheating a lot of it consider cooking the rice separately and adding it to the soup when you reheat it. It won’t absorb as much of the broth flavor but this will prevent the rice from getting over cooked and mushy.
Make it vegetarian: my favorite way to make this soup vegetarian is to replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock and the chicken with sautéed wild mushrooms.
Use Turkey: replacing the roasted chicken with leftover roast turkey is a delicious way to feed a crowd after thanksgiving. It makes a little bit of leftover turkey go a long way!
Amp up the veggies: add kale, spinach, diced sweet potato, mushrooms or any other vegetables you love to your sautéed vegetables. Its a great way to turn the leftover scraps in your vegetable drawer into a hearty meal!
What is wild rice?
Wild rice is actually not rice at all but rather the grains of four different species of aquatic grasses. While wild rice is technically not a rice, it’s commonly referred to as one because of its similar appearance and cook method.
Can you add rice to soup raw?
You can add your rice to soup raw and its extra delicious because it lets the rice soak up all the delicious flavors of the broth. However if you want to keep the soup from developing a brown color or are making the soup ahead I do recommend adding pre cooked rice right before serving.
What is a Mirepoix?
Mirepoix is a French flavor base made of onion, celery and carrots gently cooked in butter or oil. The traditional ratios is 2:1:1, two parts onion, one part carrot, one part celery. Mirepoix is integral to the flavor of most soups, stews, and sauces.