Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

My goal for the past several months has been to try to get out of this cooking rut that involves making the same things over and over again. I have noticed that with age comes the ability to accept new foods and to try things that in prior years I wouldn't have enjoyed. I also feel that it is my wifely duty to provide my Husband with meals that he can take into work and be proud of and make the other boys jealous that he is married to me and they aren't. I achieved that last one last week with the Sausage and Peppers and with the Eggplant Parmesan. I believe one of the comments from the other guys was," I wish my wife cooked like this". I was giddy with excitement after my Husband informed me of this, mainly because when it comes to cooking, the thing I enjoy most is watching everyone else enjoy it. It gives me a sense of satisfaction knowing that all of the chopping, dicing, baking, and frying, were worth the time and effort that I put forth.

I stumbled upon this recipe a few weeks ago on allrecipes.com. It has received rave reviews and it seems like everyone was suggesting it. I decided to stumble into the unknown and give it a shot as this would have been one of those foods I wouldn't have looked twice at a few years ago. To say I enjoyed this dish would be an understatement. They weren't joking when they named it Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, because let me tell you, it is definitely creamy and it does a body good on a cold miserable day like today. It calls for simple ingredients and while it does call for some added work such as making the roux, it is actually a fairly simple dish to make. Unfortunately for Daniel this wasn't a favorite of his, but I couldn't care less because it saves that much more for me and besides, his buddies are already jealous of him, why make them suffer any worse. Now please don't let the fact that Daniel wasn't crazy about this stop you from trying it. He did eat it, he just didn't rave about it. This dish was not like the failed attempt at Chinese where after one bite he told me to pitch it. I am still having nightmares about that dish people!

Here is the soup, now I added a few things to my soup after reading several of the reviews that were posted on allrecipes.com. Before I even get started I saute a cup of chopped onions and about 1/2 cup of chopped carrots.

1 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 cooked, boneless chicken breast halves, shredded
1 (4.5 ounce) 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
finely shredded mild cheddar cheese

1.) In a large pot over medium heat, saute your chopped onion and carrots in about 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
2.)Combine broth, water and chicken to your vegetable saute. Bring just to boiling, then stir in rice, reserving seasoning packet. Cover and remove from heat.
3.)In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper and flour.
4.)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 tablespoons, to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.
5.)Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through, 10 to 15 minutes.

Now as I stated above the original recipe does not call for the carrots or onions, but they add so much flavor to the dish that I wouldn't make this soup without them. Others have also added celery to the mix and some mushrooms would also be a nice touch. I top each bowl of the soup with a little bit of the shredded cheese and ta da, you have a wonderul hearty bowl of soup. I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I do.