If you’re traveling in Minnesota, you will see a version of this delicious soup served in many different restaurants. Wild rice is definitely a local delicacy, with a nutty, woodsy, flavour and a chewy, almost crunchy texture. The grains are ridiculously long and when cooked, the hull will split open and a tender curl of white rice will spring out. It pairs beautifully with celery and chicken, and if you are lucky enough to have them, wild mushrooms.
There is just one thing that you should know about cooking wild rice. It has to either be soaked for several hours, then rinsed, or brought to the boil, cooked for about 5 minutes and rinsed. If you don’t, you will “taste the lake” in it. It’s a very tiny effort for such a beautiful result.
A classic soup from Minnesota that is full of wild flavour and creamy goodness.
- 1 cup wild rice
- 4 chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 ribs celery, finely diced
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3 tbsp all purpose flour
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 red potatoes, cut into bite sized cubes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 handful chopped parsley and chopped chives
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying chicken
Fill large saucepan with 4 cups of cold, salted water. Add wild rice and set on medium high heat.
Preheat oven to 400F. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a skillet set on medium high. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper and place them skin side down in skillet. Fry for 7 to 8 minutes, then turn and fry the other side for 7 to 8 minutes and pieces are golden brown. If skillet can go in the oven, then place on medium rack of oven. If not, then remove thighs to a roasting pan and place on medium rack of oven. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until juices run clear.
Meanwhile, when rice comes to a boil, cook for 5 minutes then drain and rinse thoroughly. Fill the pot with 4 more cups of cold salted water and return rice to the pot. Cook until most of the rice kernels have "sprung" and are tender.
Remove chicken from the oven and allow to rest while preparing the soup.
In a large stockpot on medium high, melt butter and add onions and celery. Fry until the vegetables are translucent.
Dredge vegetables in flour and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add chicken stock and stir vigourously or use a wire whisk to break up the flour.
Add potatoes, thyme and salt and pepper.
When soup returns to boil, turn down to medium low, cover and cook until potatoes are tender.
Meanwhile, remove meat from thigh bones when chicken pieces are cool enough to handle. Cut or shred meat into bite sized pieces.
Drain and rinse the rice.
Add the chicken, rice and heavy cream to the soup and bring up to serving temperature.
Add parsley and chives. Serve.