Cold enough for ya? I might not be buried under copious amounts of snow or battling a polar vortex but Old Man Winter has finally decided to pay us a visit here in the Deep South. Walking on the shady side of the streets of the French Quarter was enough to send me to Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop to warm up by the fire with a peppery Bloody Mary. Now that we’re home, I’ll need another way to warm up. This soup might just do the trick.
I have to confess something. See that picture there? See those coarsely chopped onions and celery? Yeah. Don’t do that. By the time the chicken was done and the rice was cooked the onion and celery (and carrots too, but not so much) were still crunchy. Mmmmm, crunchy soup. Interesting.
There are a few ways to combat crunchy soup. One, chop the onions and celery much finer. Like food processor fine. Then grate the carrot instead of slicing. Smaller pieces mean shorter cooking time. Two, allow the spices, onions, celery, carrots and stock to cook for a couple of hours before adding the chicken and rice. Start your cooking time when you add the rice and chicken. That way your chicken won’t overcook and your rice won’t get mushy. Three, place chopped celery, carrot and onion in a large microwavable bowl with some butter or olive oil. Cook on high in microwave for 3-4 minutes (stirring after each minute to avoid burning). Add cooked vegetables to the slow cooker with the raw chicken, rice, spices and stock. Cook according to directions. Similarly, if you’re adverse to the microwave, you could always sweat the vegetables in a sauté pan until soft then proceed as recipe directs.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 small onion, chopped (see above paragraph)
- 3 stalks celery, chopped (see above paragraph)
- 2-3 small carrots, chopped (see above paragraph)
- 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried sage
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup brown and wild rice (I used a brown rice medley from Trader Joe’s)
- 2 T olive oil
- 7-8 cups chicken stock
Add all ingredients (start with 7 cups of stock, using the last cup to thin it out if it becomes too thick at the end) to the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken is done and rice is cooked through. Remove cooked chicken and allow to cool slightly (until it’s cool enough to handle). Shred or chop chicken into bite-sized pieces and add back into soup. Stir to mix well. Serve hot.