Anyhoo, my friend Michele e-mailed me this week looking for my Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup recipe. I was going to just e-mail it back when she reminded me that I now have my very own fancy schmancy soup blog. Some recipes should just be shared with the world. This is one of them. No joke.
So this is my own personal take on Panera's Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup. I made at least 10 versions of this soup before I got it exactly the way I wanted it. Now it is one of my Top 5 favorite foods of all time, coming in only slightly behind the Totino's Pizza Roll. Don't be intimidated by my sophisticated and discriminating palate either, I promise you will love this recipe too.
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Makes 6 - 8 servings
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrots
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1 package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups heavy cream
In a small saucepan, saute chopped vegetables in a bit of olive oil on low heat until tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Put aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth, water and chicken. Bring just to boiling, stir in rice while reserving the seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in contents of seasoning packet until mixture is bubbly. Reduce heat to low, then stir in flour mixture by a couple of tablespoons at a time forming a roux. Whisk in cream, a little bit at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened for about 5 minutes.
Stir cream mixture into broth and rice and add in your sauted vegetables. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.
**Tips and tricks: This is a great recipe for leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken from the deli. I prefer Uncle Ben's Long Grain Wild Rice for this recipe, I think the seasoning is the best hands down. Roux is just a fancy French word for "pasty-like stuff made from flour and butter". It's basically the thickening agent for the soup. Your roux should be the consistency of prepared brownie mix. Please note, it doesn't taste as good as brownie mix...so don't try it plain out of the pot. Blech. In an effort to be more health-conscious, I often subsitute half-and-half , 2% milk or a combination of the two in lieu of heavy cream. My preferred combo is 1 cup half-and-half and 1 cup of milk. Totally personal preference.