I apologize for the radio silence for so long, as even with taking some time off for the holidays, I certainly didn’t intend to stop posting for so long. It appears I became a bit run down by the time Christmas was around the corner and I managed to contract one bug after another. I’m now finishing up my third cold/flu/stomach thingy in as many weeks. I know it’s been going around, but for someone who rarely gets sick, I think I’ve had more than my fair share! Definitely not what I had in mind in ringing in a new year. My heartfelt thanks to you all for hanging in here with me in spite of my lack of posting. I assure you that I’m more than ready to get back to my regular programming.
Winter is now upon us and it’s been very cold here indeed. And with the chilly weather my thoughts naturally turn towards soup. A nice, hearty soup is just the perfect meal to brighten up these short, dark days and warm you up. And a chicken soup has the added benefit of all those famous medicinal qualities.
So, boy (and girl) have I got a great one here for you! This chicken, wild rice and hearty mushroom soup is to die for. It’s a warm, comforting and luxurious soup filled to the brim with tender pieces of chicken breast, a toothsome and nutty mixture of wild rice and brown rice, lots of tasty veggies and some woodsy, earthy mushrooms. The added bonus here is that the chicken makes its own broth for the soup, so nothing is wasted. By finishing this soup with a little cream and some dry sherry, it becomes a creamy and savory bowl of goodness—truly a meal unto itself, although a wee salad alongside or some cheese toast is mighty fine as well. Check it out and see what you think..it’s good for what ails you, or for no ailment at all. I know I’m feeling much better already!
Chicken, Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
1 3/4 lb. split chicken breasts, bone in and skin on
10 cups water
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and minced
a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons of flour
1 cup wild rice blend (1/2 wild rice and 1/2 brown rice)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
8 oz. Baby Bella or Cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup dry sherry
3/4 – 1 tsp kosher salt and 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Place the chicken breast into a large, heavy bottomed stock pot and cover with the 10 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer the chicken until it is tender and just barely done through. Remove the chicken breasts from the liquid and set them aside to cool, reserving all of the “stock” in a large bowl. Allow the stock to cool and skim off as much fat as you can. Remove the skin from the chicken breasts and tear the meat off the bone and into bite sized pieces. Reserve the meat.
Wipe out the stock pot well with a paper towel, and add the butter and olive oil to the pot. Melt the butter and oil together over medium heat, then add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt and some ground pepper over the veggies. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the veggies are softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add the flour and stir for a couple of minutes to cook it, then add the rice and stir it in. Then add the 10 cups of reserved broth and the thyme. If you don’t have a full 10 cups of broth, make up the difference with water. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while. After 30 minutes, add in the chicken and the mushrooms, and cook for another 15 minutes. Add the remaining 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper a little bit at a time, and adjust the seasoning to taste. Pour in the cream and the sherry and stir until the soup is hot again. Ladle a generous portion in your bowl and enjoy. Keeps for several days and reheats well, but try not to boil when reheating as it may break the cream.