CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Nothing beats down the cold weather better than a bowl of hot soup, which is the perfect remedy for the subzero temperatures and wind chill that have held this part of the Midwest captive for the past week or two.

A good choice always is wild rice soup, which can be made a number of ways. My favorite is one that is creamy and loaded with vegetables and shredded chicken or pheasant.

I didn’t have to go far for the ingredients when making the following recipe a couple of days ago. Minnesota wild rice along with some carrots from my garden and pheasant harvested this past hunting season were complemented nicely with the other store-bought ingredients that we generally have on hand.

If you give this a try, you will agree that this is just what the doctor would have ordered.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped carrots, chopped
2½ cups leeks or yellow onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup shredded chicken
2 quarts chicken broth or 2 quarts vegetable broth plus 2 chicken bouillon cubes
¾ cup wild rice
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup heavy cream, hot
3 tablespoons dry sherry
¼ cup minced chives (optional)
3 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)
Clean rice before cooking by placing it in bowl with plenty of cold water. Give rice a stir. Set bowl aside for a few minutes to let any debris float to surface. Pour off water. Heat butter in soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots, leeks and celery. Cook until softened. Reduce heat to low. Add flour. Stir well. Cook gently for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth gradually, whisking to eliminate lumps. Bring to simmer. Add wild rice and salt. Simmer until rice is tender but still chewy, about 45 minutes. Stir in heated cream and sherry. Season to taste. Serve garnished with chives and parsley.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6.
Note: I substituted pheasant for chicken and 1 percent milk for heavy cream.

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