You’re up to your elbows in wrapping paper. The Christmas menus are taking shape: a potluck on Christmas Eve, French toast casserole for Christmas morning, some sort of roast for Christmas dinner. But you still have to feed yourself — or, more likely, a group of hungry family members — for a couple more days.
You could order takeout, sure, but that adds up. And you don’t need more leftovers crowding the fridge.
How about a one-pot meal you can literally throw together in 15 minutes then let cook unattended while you put the finishing touches on those presents? How about this chicken and wild rice soup?
I used chicken thighs I had in the freezer from the last time they were BOGO at Publix, cooking them first in the pot I would use for the soup. You can build more flavor that way, but it’s not necessary. If you’ve got a rotisserie chicken or already cooked leftover chicken (or turkey!), that works, too.
Go ahead and roughly chop those vegetables. This is not the time for precision, and less uniform pieces can add nice texture to the final product.
Find actual wild rice if you can, though know that if you use brown rice or white rice in this recipe, it will still be quite good. Wild rice adds a nuttier flavor and holds up better to longer cooking times.
The real beauty of this recipe is that you can cook it for as long as the recipe says or let it simmer on the stove for much longer. It reheats perfectly, and does not need to be served with anything, given that it’s packed with protein and vegetables and grains.
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 to 2 pounds bite-size pieces chicken or turkey, raw or cooked
3 celery ribs, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup wild rice
2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium broth
2 cups water
3/4 cup half-and-half
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. If using raw meat, add it to the pot. Cook for about 10 minutes until lightly browned on the outside; it doesn’t need to be fully cooked on the inside. Remove meat from pot and place on a clean plate; set aside.
Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper to the pot, and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just start to soften, about 10 minutes. If using cooked meat, add it now.
Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook, stirring, until evenly coated and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
Add the wild rice to the pot and gradually stir in the stock and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
If you used raw meat, add it back into the stew now. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer. You can keep simmering for longer, if you wish. Just make sure it’s covered, so all of the liquid doesn’t evaporate.
Stir in the half-and-half. Taste, then season with salt and pepper as needed. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
Serves 4 to 6.
Source: Adapted from Food and Wine