It’s a snowy day, my three year old has a cold, and my husband has been working outside – so I thought it would be a perfect day to do some kind of chicken soup in the crockpot. I have some wild rice in the pantry leftover from another dish, so I thought I would take a stab at a chicken and wild rice soup.
Now, you’d think it would be easy to find a recipe such as this. I suppose it is, if you have vanilla tastes and you don’t want anything more than ordinary. I like a little creaminess to my chicken soup – or at least, a little extra kick. I like lemon, curry, coriander, ginger, or something beyond Grandma’s recipe. Plus, today I wasn’t able to get to the store for any special ingredients.
I spent about 40 minutes looking in my books and perusing the website with no success. There’s probably one out there that’s as good. But if I was going to get cooking I had to get off the computer and begin. I found some inspiration from this:
But it still wasn’t all I wanted in a Chicken and Wild Rice Soup recipe.
So, I did my own – and this is what I came up with (don’t be afraid of the long ingredient list, most of them you just throw in):
- Any combination of 6-8 pieces of bone-in, skin-on chicken
- Vegetable oil & 2 Tbls. butter
- 2 stalks celery, diced finely
- 2 small carrots, diced finely
- 1 very small onion, diced finely
- 2 tablespoons flour – I actually used Wondra!
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 cups chicken stock, low-sodium, or 6 cups water with 5 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder
- 1/2 package (3 oz.) Near East Long Grain & Wild Rice Original, seasoning packet removed
- 3-4 whole sprigs fresh parsley, tied together
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 bay leaf
- dash or more of cayenne pepper
Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add 1 tbl. oil and 1 tbl. butter. Sear the chicken pieces in the skillet in two separate batches, about 5-6 minutes per side, to get a nice browning.* Place the browned chicken pieces in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Wipe out the skillet, lower the heat to medium-low, then add the rest of the butter and just a teaspoon of oil. Cook the celery, carrot and onion in the skillet for about 5 minutes or until just soft. Stir in the flour, season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper, and remove from heat.
Transfer the vegetable mixture into the crockpot with the chicken. Add the minced garlic, rice, and pour the chicken stock over everything. Add the parsley, turmeric, cumin, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir gently.
Cook, covered, in the crockpot 1 hour on high. After one hour, reduce heat to low, and cook an additional 2-3 hours. At some point, and really, any time after the first hour – you’ll take the chicken pieces out, let them cool a bit, and then bone the chicken. Remove the skin, of course. Then chop up the cooked chicken rather fine – this is a good way to ensure no one gets a bone in their bowl. You should have about 2 cups of chicken. Return the chicken to the pot, and now add the cayenne pepper to taste. Replace the lid and heat through for the remaining cooking time – or if you wait until the end to bone the chicken, reheat for about 10-15 minutes.
Before serving, remove the bay leaf and tied parsley. Taste again for salt and pepper seasoning (I added more here). Finish by stirring in the lemon juice just before spooning into bowls. Then grab a snuggie, some crusty bread or oyster crackers, and a glass of chardonnay – you are well on your way to comfort heaven.
Wow! This surpassed all my expectations. This was family friendly, it had everything going for it. I’m not sure I would change anything, except perhaps to add the rice a little later in the recipe – maybe after that first hour in. I didn’t mind it soft, but I do like my wild rice to have just a little resistance to the tooth. And, though I was craving something creamy, this didn’t need it. It was rich and delicious, without being too unhealthy. I was really glad I ditched the written recipes and did my own thing here. When I do this again, (and I will) I’ll try just keeping the crockpot on low the whole time, for a longer time – to see if it would withstand being gone most of the day. Try it and tell me what you think!