Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup- Rotisserie chicken, fresh veggies, and wild rice swim in an herbaceous broth in this hearty and comforting soup.
January 25, 2022 by Nicole Collins
I almost didn’t post today’s recipe.
In fact, I originally thought today’s recipe was a major fail.
And honestly, that’s only because what I set out to make was not what I ended up with as a final product.
That happens sometimes. Actually, that happens a lot of times. I even have a whole folder on my laptop for recipes to reject or revisit. It’s not that they were bad. They just weren’t…right.
Those “reject” recipes are usually ones that hurt my feelings enough that I didn’t want to get right back into testing and re-testing to get it right. I know they have potential. But, I need some space before I go back to them and finish them. The creative process is not an easy one, folks! It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in my brain.
So todays recipe was supposed to be more of a mushroom focused soup. I thought long and hard about how I’d achieve that goal. I researched mushroom soups for inspiration. I wanted it to be a chicken and rice soup that had those strong, earthy, umami, mushroomy flavors.
Then at the last minute, I tossed some rosemary into the soup (which was not part of my original plan). Now, I’m not blaming the rosemary for making this soup taste different than I imagined. I obviously threw it in there for a reason…because the soup flavors were feeling a little “meh”. But, the end product didn’t taste at all like I imagined it would. So, I almost deemed it a fail.
Except…I still had to eat it, fail or not. That’s sometimes the disadvantage of those failed recipes. I still have to eat them, because your girl isn’t trying to waste food. And here’s the plot twist…the soup was DELICIOUS.
So, I shifted my mindset. I rebranded this soup (to me and only me, really). And, that’s the emotional story of how today’s recipe was born.
Today, we’re making Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup!
This is one of those soups that is guaranteed to warm you up from the inside out during the frigid temps the whole country is experiencing right now. We’re using some store bought rotisserie chicken, some fresh veggies, and some wild rice then transforming them into a hearty and delicious bowl of goodness.
Since this soup started as a mushroom soup in my mind, I made a simple mushroom stock to use as some of the liquid in our soup. It’s as simple as boiling some water, adding some dried shiitake mushrooms, and letting them steep for about an hour to infuse the water with their umami goodness. While this step adds a little extra depth to the final product, you can absolutely double up on the chicken stock, and this soup will be just as incredible.
While our mushroom stock is brewing, we can get started on the base of our soup. We need a little olive oil, some baby bella mushrooms, some celery, a little onion, and some carrots. We’re going to give them a little time to sauté in a skillet until they start to soften and lightly caramelize. Then, we’ll add in a little garlic for extra pizazz. And once the garlic is fragrant, we’ll deglaze our pan with some white wine.
After the wine has cooked off of the veggies, we’ll add a little flour to help thicken up the overall texture of our soup. From there, we add in our mushroom stock, some chicken stock, and a couple cups of store bought rotisserie chicken that’s been diced into bite sized pieced. We’re also going to add in some special herbs and seasonings to really amp of the flavor of this soup: some fresh thyme, some fresh rosemary, and some umami seasoning.
Now those of you that have been around here for a while know that I do not enjoy shopping at Trader Joes. But, I’ll trek out there for some of this umami seasoning. Once upon a time, you could only find this special seasoning at TJ’s. But recently, versions are starting to pop up in places like Aldi, Target, and even Amazon. So it’s so much more accessible, and it adds important flavor to this soup. Umami seasoning is typically made of dried mushrooms, red and black pepper, mustard seed, and dried onion. And, those are the exact savory notes that we want to use to impart flavor in this soup.
After our soup has had a couple minutes to simmer, we’re going to pull out those fresh herbs and toss in some prepared wild rice. At this point, we’re also going to stir in some evaporated milk to make our soup nice and creamy. I love using evaporated milk in soups, because the water content has been taken out of the milk making it less likely to break. So instead of having soups with visible dairy separation (especially with re-heated leftovers), our soup stays nice and creamy for a couple of days.
When it’s time to chow down, our tastebuds are in for a treat. There are so many layers of flavor and texture happening here. We have that savory mushroom flavor at the base of the soup. Then, we have woody and herby notes from the rosemary and thyme infusion of the soup. And, you can’t forget the classic aroma of the rotisserie chicken plus chicken stock rounding out this soup. Plus, we get little pops of veggies in our mouth along with the chew from the rice. And, this whole bowl is quite the experience.
And though it seems like a laundry list of ingredients, we really didn’t put a whole lot of effort into this soup. Just a little patience!
Alrighty, folks! We might have to take a trip to the tropics soon to warm our souls like this soup warms our bellies. So, stay tuned!
I hope you all enjoy! And, let’s eat!
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Serves: 4 Print
10 dried shiitake mushrooms
½ cup wild rice
2 tbsp olive oil
4 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flour
¼ cup white wine
2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
½ tsp pepper, plus more to taste
½ tsp Trader Joe's umami seasoning
2 cups rotisserie chicken, diced
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
Make the Mushroom Broth: In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat, add dried shiitake mushrooms, and allow the mushrooms to steep in the water for 1 hour. Remove mushrooms from the broth, and discard them. Set broth aside.
Make the Rice: Combine wild rice, 1 2/3 cups water, and a pinch of salt; and cook rice according to package directions. Set aside.
Start the soup: Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add baby bella mushrooms, onions, celery, and carrots; and saute for 10-12 minutes until the veggies start to lightly brown and caramelize. Add garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 1 minute until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add wine, and cook for 3-4 mins until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Stir flour into the veggie mix, and cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken stock, mushroom broth, thyme, rosemary, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper, umami seasoning, and diced chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Increase heat back to medium. Add evaporated milk and wild rice, and stir until well combined. Taste for seasoning, add another pinch of salt and pepper as needed, and simmer for an additional 4-5 mins more. Remove from heat. Serve!
*I like to use evaporated milk to make my soups creamy, because I find it to be a little more stable since the water content has been removed. Regular or lowfat will work.
*I used a boxed mix for my wild rice and just discarded the seasoning packet. It worked perfectly! I had the exact amount of rice that I needed, and I got a box for less than a dollar.
*You can buy a big bag of dried shiitake mushrooms at an Asian market for just a few dollars, and store them in the freezer. They're great for adding great flavor to a soup broth, and you can basically always have them on hand. You can buy them for a couple extra dollars online, as well. If you don't want to make the mushroom broth, you could use 4 cups of chicken stock for this soup, instead.
*Umami seasoning adds nice depth and savory flavor to this soup. It's much easier to find these days at places like Trader Joes, Aldi, Target, and even Amazon.