November 8, 2017

Chicken, Mushroom, & Wild Rice Soup

Daylight savings hit me hard. Everyone was all excited about an extra hour to sleep or party, which I thoroughly enjoyed by the way thanks to some Benadryl and a warm, fluffy blanket. But now I'm stuck with all of 6 hours of daylight and night starting at approximately 4pm with months of this misery ahead. On top of that, it's freezing cold and I'm looking at the last Farmers' Market until spring. What do I do? I make soup. This chicken, mushroom, and wild rice soup is warm and hearty with secret bites of bacon and a rich, creamy base.

Chicken soup is probably my favorite soup of all time, especially when it has matzo balls and/or noodles. However, there are nights when I want something more filling than just a broth and want to feel healthier than eating giant balls of fluffy carbs and maybe a piece of carrot. This soup starts with bacon (for the drippings and also snacking) and searing off some chicken in the drippings. The onions and mushrooms are then cooked in that savory, flavorful fat left over. Instead of using cream to thicken my soup and give that velvety texture, I use a roux (adding flour to the leftover fat) as a thickening agent. From there, I add plenty of wine and chicken broth before stirring in the veggies, chicken, and rice. A splash of half and half rounds out the dish for that ultra-creamy texture just in case the roux didn't quite get you there.

Since this is a fancy, extra-filling version of a basic mushroom soup, it's important to pay attention to what mushrooms you're using. I wouldn't splurge on insanely expensive Morels (even if they were in season) or other high-end mushrooms since they're just going to be cooked down into the soup. I've found that your basic baby bellas/button mushrooms work just fine for the bulk of the soup, and adding a handful of dried porcinis to the rice as it cooks adds an extra punch of earthiness and mushroom flavor. Again, I don't want to cook the mushrooms to death, so I add the dried porcinis towards the end of cooking the rice. The soup has a short enough cooking time that the baby bellas should survive.

Wild rice is different than normal rice in that it's a bit chewier and earthier, which makes it perfect for mushroom soups. I like to par-cook mine before adding it to the soup to ensure that it cooks fully without overcooking. Don't cook the rice fully here since it still simmers for a bit in the soup. This also means I can steep the rice in those dried porcinis, which would have otherwise been overwhelmed by all the other ingredients in the soup. If you can't find dried porcinis, other dried mushrooms will work just as well or you can just add more fresh mushrooms to the base.

Considering most soups like to simmer for hours, this is a pretty great weeknight meal. You should be able to get it all on the plate (or in the bowl) within about an hour if you time things right, and you can make it even faster by shredding a store-bought rotisserie chicken instead of cooking your own. It basically has as many servings of vegetables in one bowl as I normally eat in a week, so that's also a bargain. You can pretty much feel the health flowing through your veins, though that might also be the wine and half-and half. Overall, it's a net-positive soup since it has your veggies and your whole grains and your lean protein all in one big, cozy bowl.

1/4 lb Bacon, Optional
1 Cup Wild Rice
1-2oz Dry Porcini Mushrooms
1 lb Chicken Breast
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Paprika
1 Large Yellow Onion, Diced
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
12oz Mushrooms, Sliced
2 T Flour
1/4 Cup White Wine
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Half and Half

Cook the bacon in a large pot until crispy, if desired. Remove, leaving drippings in the pan.

Bring 2 cups water, the rice, and a pinch of salt to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove from heat, add the dry porcini, fluff, cover, and steam for 10 minutes.

Whisk the garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika together. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Heat oven to 375F and line a small baking tray with foil or parchment.

Add a spoonful of oil to the bacon drippings if necessary. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the spice mixture and sear on both sides until brown. Transfer to the prepared tray and bake for 12-15 minutes or until just cooked through and still juicy. Shred when cool.

Cook the onion in the drippings for 6 minutes or until tender and fragrant. Add the garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan.

Add the mushrooms to the skillet and cook for 8 minutes. Drain off the liquid, saving for later. Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes or until absorbed. Deglaze with the wine and cook for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in the chicken broth, mushroom drippings, and shredded chicken. Simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the rice (with porcini) and cook for 15 minutes. Stir in the half and half.

Serves 6-8
Adapted from My Modern Cookery


  1. I have some wild rice in the kitchen and didn't knew what to make with it. Now I have got a recipe but I think that I will need the mushrooms to complete it.

    1. This is a great way to use wild rice! I definitely recommend getting the mushrooms though. Let me know how it turns out!

  2. What a tasty and yummy recipe. I was looking for good soup recopies and thank God I found your blog’s post. I would really try it. Keep pasting.

    1. Thanks so much! Let me know if you end up making the soup.

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