September 20, 2008

Jen's Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Here it soup masterpiece. I am ridiculously pleased with myself for inventing this recipe. My soup success is going straight to my head...or that could just be all the NyQuil I have taken today.

I did change the title by omitting the 'surprise' at the end. Typically, my 'surprise' recipes don't get a second shot. It is rare if they do. I keep a desktop folder with notes of all my 'surprise' recipes, and very seldom do I go to it for a recipe idea. Since I know I will make this soup again, I am going to store it in my regular recipe archives and ditch the surprise title. That way I can keep myself organized and this will become a 'go-to' soup recipe.

Jen's Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into cubes (omit chicken and add crimini mushrooms for vegetarian version)
1 large white onion, diced
4 ribs of celery, finely diced
2 whole garlic cloves, minced
1 can of sliced mushrooms OR 1 container of fresh sliced mushrooms
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of dry sherry
4-5 cups of chicken stock
1 Tablespoon of dried parsley
1 1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning (I use Paul Prudhomme's Poultry Magic)
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of ground mustard powder
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1 cup of cooked wild rice (do not use instant)
3/4 cup of frozen peas
salt and pepper, to taste

For creamy thickener (roux):
4 Tablespoons of butter
1/2 cup of flour
1 1/2 cup of milk
2 Tablespoons of dry, evaporated milk
1/2 cup of half and half OR plain non dairy creamer

1) In a small sauce pan, cook wild rice according to package directions and set aside.

2) In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat olive oil on stove top over medium high heat. Add onions, celery, and a generous pinch of both salt and pepper, to the hot oil. Saute until celery has softened a little and onions are soft and translucent. Add minced garlic, stir and saute for another minute. Add dry sherry and stir. Let sherry reduce until almost evaporated and then add the chicken stock and cooked chicken. Next, add another layer of salt and pepper (again, a good pinch of each). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 1/2 hour.

3) Once soup has finished simmering, make creamy thickener (roux) as follows: In a small bowl combine milk, half and half, and dried evaporated milk. Whisk until smooth. In a separate sauce pan, melt butter. When butter is completely melted add flour and stir until paste is formed. Add milk mixture to sauce pan. Using whisk, combine paste and milk mixture until smooth texture is achieved. Let milk simmer until bubbles form around ring of sauce pan.

4) Add finished milk mixture to soup pot and stir or whisk to thoroughly combine. Once combined, add cooked wild rice and frozen peas to creamy soup. DO NOT BOIL (this will break your roux). Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Let simmer for an additional 10 minutes over medium-low heat. Serve and enjoy!

Jen's Notes:
It is important to add salt and pepper to each stage of preparation, in small increments. Make sure you taste the final product and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

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