This is another recipe I made when back at my parents' house a couple weekends ago. I don't think I mentioned that when we went back to Minnesota, we didn't go alone. We met up with two families who happen to be some of our very dearest friends. The husbands got to go to a conference (Desiring God, if you were curious) and the wives and kiddos (five who were four and under!) hung out at my Mom and Dad's place. It was crazy, it was fun, it was a weekend to remember! We are so blessed by our friendship with these families, we love you guys!!! Also, a big thank you to my parents, who were so welcoming. It is clear that I have learned a lot about hospitality from them!
Before everyone parted ways, I put together a couple of batches of soup. I can't tell you how excited I am about the weather turning cooler so I have an excuse to make soup as often as I want (it softens the blow that it's getting darker earlier and snow is imminent...). I made one of my favorites, Chicken Wild Rice (must be my Minnesota roots). It's simple, but so flavorful and hearty (it's a great one to make with the leftover turkey at Thanksgiving too, although I guess that would officially be "Turkey Wild Rice"). Creamy, but not too rich, it has a great nutty texture from the wild rice and is a little bit salty from bits of ham.
Sorry the picture isn't so great, I was just trying to capture a snapshot in between spending time with friends. This bowl (and thumb) happens to belong to our friend, Jeremy, who apparently really loves black pepper. In the voice of Chandler Bing (another "Friends" reference), "Could there BE any more pepper on that soup???" Apparently, he likes things spicy! However you dress it, it's good stuff!
p.s. A few more pictures from the weekend below, if you're interested...
Chicken Wild Rice Soup
2 cups cooked wild rice (cook according to package directions or can substitute a boxed rice mix)
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup finely chopped ham
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups cooked shredded chicken
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup half and half (or heavy cream or canned evaporated milk)
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery, season with a little bit of salt (don't get carried away at the beginning, so just use a little, but it's important to build the flavors all the way through), pepper and garlic powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and vegetables are becoming tender (3-5 minutes). Add ham and flour. It will "seize up" into a mass. Continue cooking, stirring constantly for another couple of minutes to remove the raw taste from the flour. After about 2 minutes, slowly stir in chicken broth, a little at a time, stirring constantly so that the flour-vegetable mixture is smoothly incorporated into the broth. Raise heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and stir in cooked rice and chicken. Allow to simmer until vegetables are tender. Shortly before serving, stir in half and half or cream and allow to gently heat through without boiling. Adjust salt and pepper as desired.
Note: This is definitely not the super-thick version that you may have come across at restaurants or hanging out in kettles at supermarkets. If you want something closer to that, increase the flour and butter significantly--maybe 1/2 cup each?--and make sure to stir constantly when you are bringing the soup to a boil (almost like you're making a white sauce).
|The three couples from the left: Ryan and Angie, Jeremy and Julia and Jay and I|
|The "Big" kids, Moriah, Silas and Zoey|
|The Babies (for now, Julia's expecting this Spring!): Yirah and Judah (my little Bubba-Doo)|