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YIELDS:

8 servings

PREP TIME:

0 hours 10 mins

COOK TIME:

0 hours 45 mins

TOTAL TIME:

0 hours 55 mins

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ingredients

1 Cup wild rice

9 Cups chicken stock, divided

4 Tbsp. butter

½ Cup onion, finely chopped

3 Carrots, peeled and finely chopped

4 Celery ribs, finely chopped

2 bay leaves

½ Tsp. dried thyme

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

½ Tsp. Garlic powder

2 Chicken bouillon cubes

Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

¼ Cup dry sherry

2 Cups cooked chicken from a rotisserie chicken, chopped and/or shredded

½ Cup heavy cream

2 Tbsp. Sliced Almonds, toasted (optional)

DIRECTIONS

1. Please the rice in a sieve or strainer and rinse under running water for one minute.
2. Add 1 cup of the rinsed rice in a saucepan with 3 cups of chicken stock. Follow the instructions on the box for time to cook. Strain the rice and discard the stock it was cooked in.
3. Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and celery and cook until the veggies are soft – about 5-7 minutes.
4. Add all the seasoning (thyme, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and pepper) as well as, the bay leaves and the chicken bouillon cubes. Stir until they are distributed throughout the veggies. Add the sherry and cook for two minutes. Then, add the remaining 6 cups of chicken stock and stir to combine.
5. Increase heat to high and bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
6. Add the chopped chicken, cooked wild rice and heavy cream. Continue to simmer until heated through, about 4-5 minutes.
7. Remove bay leaves, taste, and adjust seasoning by adding more salt or pepper if needed.

8. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Enjoy!

NOTE: I had the extreme pleasure of living in Minneapolis for five years. I loved everything about that city and the people in it. While there, I was introduced to this soup. I had never had it before and I really couldn’t remember having wild rice in anything other than pilaf. The locals are happy to give you a lesson about how it isn’t really rice at all but rather a seed that grows wild in Minnesota. They all loved educating the girl from New York!

This soup shows up on every menu in every restaurant in the state! Every home I went to, served their version and recipes were flying around with individual tweaks and additions. My version comes from long days of holiday shopping at the mall. Huh? I really loved having lunch or an early dinner at Dayton’s Department store. (I know what you are thinking, “you are eating at a department store?”) The answer is a resounding YES. What started as “I’m tired and need something to eat now” caused by a particularly long shopping spree, turned into one of my favorite spots to eat. My memory of that soup is what inspired this recipe. I should tell you if you aren’t from the Midwest, Dayton’s is an upscale store in line with a Bloomingdales or Nordstrom’s. Dining there was really relaxing and a treat. You could have a glass of wine and this soup and really feel rejuvenated for round two of shopping!

The soup is creamy and hearty and just perfect in freezing Minnesota but it works pretty darn well in California too when I need some comfort food.  (I make this year round!) In Dayton’s version, there were always toasted almonds on top of the soup and I really liked that crunch. So, of course, I add them too.

This soup is not difficult to make at all just be sure to rinse your rice really well. Cooking it in stock adds extra flavor but you can certainly cook the rice in water. I have found wild rice in both Trader Joe and Whole Foods stores but if you have trouble finding it, you can get it here.  I take a short cut by buying a cooked rotisserie chicken to get the meat, but feel free to cook up some chicken breasts and then just chop them or shred them before adding to the soup.

I have lots of great memories of my days in Wayzata and shopping at the Ridgedale Mall.  This soup brings them all back. One final note: If you get to Minneapolis and go to a Dayton’s, be sure to order their popovers too!!!! FABULOUS.

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