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Wednesday
Apr132011

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This soup is inspired by the great soups I’ve tasted in northern Minnesota, where the wild rice is grown by the native Ojibwe (Chippewa) tribes. The rice is harvested in canoes floating through the wild rice growing at the edge of the lake. They knock the rice from the stalks with sticks right into the canoe, allowing some to fall into the water to reseed the plants.

Then they begin the long process of winnowing and toasting the rice. The result is the authentic, lighter brown rice. The black variety you see on many grocery store shelves is not the same product, it is commercially farm raised. Amy’s Mom keeps us in stock with the ‘good stuff’ from Grand Portage, the Ojibwe reservation in northern MN where they are members. 

Good wild rice is expensive, but a small amount will yield a tremendous amount of wild nutty flavor. Many of the finer restaurants along the North Shore of Lake Superior make a version of this soup and we do our best to try them all when we’re up north. Here is my rendition. 

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced onion

¾ cup butter

¾ cup flour

2 cups chicken stock

5 cups milk

1 lb cream cheese (cut into ½ inch cubes)

1 ½ lbs diced cooked chicken

1/3 cup dry white wine

6 cups cooked wild rice (Start with 2 cups wild rice and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until rice is just tender.)

Salt and white pepper to taste

Sweat celery and onions in the butter until tender.

Add flour and cook over low heat while stirring, about 5-10 minutes. 

Whisk in chicken stock and cook until thickened.

Add milk and cream cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted.

Add chicken, white wine and wild rice.

Heat on medium low to bring up to serving temperature of 160 degrees.

Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Will make almost one gallon.

I chopped up a little parsley to top off the soup, too.

Ready to eat!

Wild rice adds so much flavor to so many dishes. It's great in place of regular rice in a pilaf as a side dish, or try it with pork mixed up in a good old-fashioned Minnesota 'hot dish.'

Please let us know if you try this recipe! We'd also love to hear about how you cook with wild rice. Enjoy.

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