The Perfect Winter Soup: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice

I had this craving one day a few weeks ago. I needed warm, thick, carb-laden, wholesome chicken soup. I needed celery and carrots and onions swamped in gloopy, glorious chicken soup. I needed it for my soul.

I also needed it to happen in my crockpot, because I had a lot going on that day. I have a lot going on every day just at the moment. Today, I am hunched over the computer while I put together essays on equine anatomy systems. Just maybe, by Friday, I might be done with school. Maybe?

I headed to the one place you can be sure to find crockpot goodness on the internet: Pinterest. It was awash with recipes, but a lot of them had one crucial flaw. They called for canned cream of chicken soup. It’s just not a thing that I have in my house. I tried it for a while, and I’ll admit that I still have a couple of cans of cream of mushroom soup, but that was because Cowboy felt insecure about our future without those in the pantry cupboard. He’s just traditional that way.

I checked out a few options until I came across this recipe by the fabulous Pinch of Yum. Oh my, it hit the spot in so many ways. Crockpot compatible. Mirepoix which, for the uninitiated like me, is code for onions, carrots and celery. Chicken. Wild rice. No canned cream of chicken soup. Pretty pictures. She also has a tiny kitchen. Good grammar. This was the one.

Untitled

I chucked the necessary ingredients in my crockpot: diced onion, diced carrots, diced celery (I used a whole onion, and then about the same amount of the others); uncooked chicken (the first time I used two cans of chicken breast, the second time I used four thighs); a cup of uncooked wild rice (I used a blend); 6 cups of chicken stock; seasoning. Away we go! The creamy part comes later, by making a white sauce from 3/4 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of butter and 2 cups of milk on the hob (stove) and mixing it in when everything else is cooked. Mmmmm. I loved the recipe the first time around, pairing it with some homemade crusty bread (the recipe says it’s French bread, but it is in no way French bread that the French would want to take credit for). I felt like there was something missing in the flavours, though, so I made it again recently and decided to boldly go into the spice cupboard and tinker with the recipe. The original calls for “poultry seasoning” and recommends sage and thyme in the absence of a seasoning mix. I wanted my soup to taste like winter, so here’s what I ended up throwing in:

  • 2 large bay leaves
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Nutmeg
  • 2 cloves, ground
  • plenty of salt and pepper

I also chucked in some leftover kale that needed eating up, right at the end, and it added some lovely green colour and a bit of self-righteousness to the soup. A win all around. Untitled
And it tastes like winter and warm fires and woolly cardigans, it tastes like slippers and detective dramas and Christmas lights. It’s warm and thick and it makes me happy.

It also makes a veritable vat of soup, so I had enough for about four or five portions to sit in the fridge and be lunch this week, and about three portions to go in the freezer. You could probably stretch it out into more portions, but we eat a lot, so what can you do?

This will be a winter staple for me, for the rest of life, I am certain. Enjoy!

Creamy Winter Chicken and Wild Rice Soup (crockpot)

  • 1 cup each of diced onion, celery and carrot (or more if you like extra veg)
  • 4 uncooked chicken thighs, skin on.
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice or rice blend, rinsed.
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Nutmeg
  • 2 cloves, ground (or about 1/2 tsp of ground cloves)
  • plenty of salt and pepper

For the creamy part:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk

Throw everything except the cream sauce ingredients in the crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours (or on low for 8 hours. Depends how busy your day is.)

About 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, pull out the bay leaves. Fish out the chicken thighs and remove the skin and bones and any cartilaginous bits. It should fall apart easily.

Once cooking time has finished, make the cream sauce: melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add the flour and whisk to make a roux. Whisk in the milk and simmer on low heat until the mixture begins to thicken. Once it has thickened, stir into the soup and combine well. Taste for seasonings.

Serve with some crusty bread with plenty of butter. Feel the cockles of your heart become warmed and happy.

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One thought on “The Perfect Winter Soup: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice

  1. Pingback: Burning daylight | KO Rural Mad As Hell Blog

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