Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
I’m going to rant really quick. I hate chicken breast. I don’t understand how people like chicken breast. Back when I first starting learning how to cook, I came across a lot of recipes that involved adding cooked chicken breast in soup. I thought it must be because it held up better in broth. But in this chicken and wild rice soup, you will find wonderful dark meat that has been simmered to perfection.
But take this as a challenge! If you can find me a recipe that chicken breast tastes good in, I will….mail you a cookie.
(Does tikka masala use chicken breast? I may have dug myself into a hole.)
But anyway! When I make any chicken soup, I simmer the chicken along with the soup for the most flavorful broth. And that’s exactly what I did for this chicken and wild rice soup. If you have some leftover chicken breast you want to cut up to use in the soup, I’m sure it will still taste great. Or at least as great as chicken breast can taste.
Tips for Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
This starts with the usual: onions, carrots, and celery. Sprinkling with kosher salt halfway through sautéing helps draw out the liquid and therefore caramelizes the vegetables.
Save those carrots peels and celery end scraps! I put them in a freezer bag along with chicken carcasses. I call it my stock bag.
When you first add all of the spices and broth, you can’t really “taste” to see if the broth needs salt and pepper. I would eyeball it here. You probably won’t overdo it unless you’re dumping tablespoons full of it in. I’d start with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. After you’ve added the spice packet and rice later on and let it cook a bit, now you can taste it.
I mention kosher salt a lot instead of just saying salt. While cooking (not baking) I always use Diamond Crystal kosher salt. The salt grains are larger and hollow. This means that per volume, there is half as much salt compared to regular salt. This makes it much easier to not over salt your dish. I like to refer to Diamond Crystal as the Rolls-Royce of salt. (This post isn’t sponsored by Diamond Crystal. I just really like their salt.)
You’ll notice I simmer the chicken whole. After the soup has finished cooking, I’ll remove the chicken and use spiky tong things to pull it. You can also use a fork or your hands. Then return the pulled chicken to the soup.
And one more thing, this recipe makes a lot of soup. Feel free to half everything. (You may want to not half the milk though if you prefer this soup with dairy. It won’t be over-dairied. I like mine a little light on the dairy so the recipe as is is perfect for me.)
I hope you enjoy this chicken and wild rice soup as much as I did!
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- olive oil, for coating
- 10 chicken drumsticks or thighs
- vegetable oil, for sauteeing
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 onion, diced
- 6 carrots, diced
- 6 ribs of celery, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- 2 cups milk, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 4.3 oz boxes of Rice a Roni Long Grain and Wild Rice + 1 seasoning packet
- Coat the drumsticks with a thin layer of olive oil. Season with kosher salt and pepper. In a large stockpot, heat a tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Sear the drumsticks for 4 minutes, about 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from pot and set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion. Saute for about 2 minutes, sprinkling kosher salt over the onion about halfway through cooking. Add the carrots and celery. Saute for 7 minutes, again sprinkling kosher salt about halfway through cooking. Add the garlic, cooking for about a minute more.
- Add the stock, water, 1 cup of milk, oregano, and bay leaf to the pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken and lower to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Whisk the flour with the remaining 1 cup of milk. Add to the soup. Add both boxes of rice but just ONE seasoning packet to the soup. Continue simmering for 20 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken temperature has reached 185 F*. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
- Remove the chicken from the soup and pull it with forks (or your hands if it's cool enough). Return the pulled chicken to the pot.
- Freezing: This soup kind of freezes well. It will separate and the texture will be kind of weird but the flavor will be there.
- Chicken Temperature: 165F is the recommended temperature for chicken to be properly cooked. However, chicken cooked to 185F will taste a lot better.