Creamy Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

The hubs and I have been under the weather the past few days and the only thing that has sounded really good has been soup.  I don’t eat a lot of soup, and the only kind I have ever made is chicken tortilla (which never really comes out the way I want).  But I decided to try something different tonight.  Panera Cream of Chicken and Rice soup is my favorite, so I searched online for a recipe that sounded similar.  I wanted something easy and did not take a long time to cook.  There were a ton of recipes, so I finally just picked one and went with it. 

It turned out pretty darn good.  Not quite the flavor of Panera, but close.  I played around with the seasonings just a bit.  It could have been a little creamier for my taste, so I might try heavy cream instead of half and half next time.  Of course, the longer is set the thicker it got, which bodes well for lunch tomorrow.  There was a lot left over!  Below is the recipe (courtesty of allrecipes.com), my adjustments and pictures, of course!  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 1/2 pound fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • Directions

    1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion, celery and carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 2 more minutes. Then add the flour and stir well. Gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly, until all has been added. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer.
    2. Next, add the rice, chicken, salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, ground black pepper, almonds and sherry. Allow to heat through, then pour in the half-and-half. Let simmer for 1 to 2 hours. (Note: Do not boil or your roux will break.)

    I left out the mushrooms (hubs doesn’t like them), and the almonds and sherry (wasn’t quite sure how they went with the soup).I also doubled the amount of rice.  I like a lot of rice.  I bought the Uncle Ben’s Long Grain & Wild in the box and just left out the seasoning packet.  Towards the end, as I was taste testing, I felt like it needed some more flavor so I added a couple additional pinches of the curry powder and a dash of garlic salt. It was not quite as thick and creamy as I like mine, so I think I will use heavy cream instead of half and half next time. I only cooked mine for about an hour after adding all of the ingredients.  One of the comments on the recipe site said that person cooked it in a slow cooker, so that is an option I might try also.

    A nice loaf of warm crispy french bread was a great side and dipper.  Of course, the bread was definitely not Panera standard, but still good.

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