On these last chilly days of late winter, there's nothing like a big bowl of hearty soup to warm our innards. I'm so pleased with this soup, a hearty mix of leftover chicken or turkey, wild rice and butternut squash – and, preferably, good homemade stock.
The Conversation: Do you roll your eyes when recipes read, "preferably homemade"? Yeah, me too.
"It's wonderful!" ~ Anonymous
“Preferably homemade”. My eyes roll at the sight of these words in recipes, do yours too? They just sound so foodie-elitist. I fear they put home cooking out of reach, setting a threshold that sounds unattainable for working families with busy lives.
And yet. And yet.
The first batch of this soup last fall was short on wild rice and long on mushrooms, but it was still so good – as in lip-smacking, let’s-make-another-pot-on-the-weekend good. The reason? The stock was clear and golden, like a cupful of savory wine. After Thanksgiving, the turkey carcass went straight into the stock pot (turkey Stock is made just like Homemade Chicken Stock or No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock except with turkey) so the freezer was jammed with bags of turkey stock.
“I hate recipes that say, ‘preferably homemade’,” I complained mid-slurp. My table companion replied with raised eyebrows and a grin. “Homemade stock IS better,” he said. “Some times better is just, well, better.” I grinned back but my inner rebel was scowling.
To prove a point, my next batch of wild rice soup used leftover chicken and my favorite chicken bouillon, the Better Than Bouillon found at well-stocked groceries and online at Amazon.com. Once again, the soup was delicious. So there, perfectionists!
To test the counterpoint, I made another pot with leftover chicken and homemade chicken stock. Oh my, twas oh so-so dreamy good.
So here I am, glad that there’s no going wrong with this soup, it’s that good. But for cooks with a choice, homemade stock, either turkey stock or chicken stock, is preferred.
Some times, better is just better but I’ll forgive anyone rolling their eyes.
CHICKEN & WILD RICE SOUP or
TURKEY & WILD RICE SOUP
Time to table: 60 – 90 minutes
Makes 6 cups, easily doubled
- 4 cups chicken stock or turkey stock, preferably homemade
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, trimmed, cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces on the diagonal
- 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, cut in fat slices
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups butternut squash cubes
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 2 cups cooked chicken or cooked turkey, in pieces
- Salt & pepper to taste
Bring the stock to a boil in the microwave. (Skip this step if not in a rush.)
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil til shimmery on medium high. Add the onion, carrot and mushrooms as they are prepped, stirring to coat with fat. Add thyme and salt, let cook until the mushrooms exude all their liquid, about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the hot stock, butternut squash and wild rice. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a slow simmer, cook until the wild rice is fully cooked, about 30 minutes for native wild rice, 45 – 60 for commercial wild rice. (Here’s a photo comparison in more about wild rice but since commercial wild rice is easier to find, chances are, your wild rice is commercial.)
Stir in the chicken or turkey and warm through. Taste and adjust seasoning, serve and savor.
The soup keeps for several days but doesn’t freeze well. If made a day ahead, more stock may be needed when warming the soup since wild rice tends to soak up the available liquid.
Are you a soup lover? Me too, I've made one pot after another since the weather turned chilly last fall. So is my friend Lydia, author of The Perfect Pantry and now, get this, a food blog dedicated to soup! That makes her a Soup Chick!
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