Four days ago, as evening turned to night, my throat started to hurt something fierce. Before going to bed, I opened my mouth and looked in the mirror. A giant ring of red outlined my throat and tonsils. (On that note, I’m really not sure why I never had my tonsils taken out as a child – I had tonsillitis and strep throat more than any other kid in my school). Yup, I was sick.
I woke up the next morning feeling even worse. I canceled lunch with a friend I haven’t seen since right before my surgery, and made my way to Walgreens for your standard over-the-counter medications. Now, my neighborhood is pretty kick ass because I was able to pick up my meds *and* hit up Trader Joe’s for some chicken to make up a pot of chicken soup.
I don’t want to brag or anything (okay, yes I do), but I’m pretty good at making all kinds of soup. In fact, it’s a not-so-secret dream of mine to one day open a soup truck. So, back home I took medicine and got to work on what Alan has deemed one of the best soups I have ever made.
First, you need to cook up your wild rice. This takes quite a long time, as far as rice goes, so that’s the first thing you want to get started on. And I implore you, do not, whatever you do, spill the pot of boiling rice all over yourself, bathing your hysterectomy incision in a fiery hell of your own making. Trust me, no one wins in that situation.
After you’ve cleaned up your mess – water everywhere and rice all over the floor – it’s time to get started on the actual soup. Like many hearty soup recipes, this one starts with a mirepoix, a mixture of chopped celery, onions, and carrots. I also add garlic and fresh herbs when I have them on hand. In this case, it was trusty thyme. Goodness I love thyme in all sorts of recipes.
Once you’ve got your mirepoix ready to go, it’s time to sauté everything in a dutch oven over medium heat. You can use either butter or olive oil – I used olive oil in an effort to keep down the overall fat content since I’d be adding cream and milk later. While your mirepoix is cooking, cut your chicken breasts into small bite size chunks and toss them in with the mirepoix to cook. (I had considered buying a whole chicken, roasting it, and then throwing roasted chicken in with the soup but that seemed like too much effort in my sickness – maybe next time.)
After the chicken has started to turn white, throw in a carton of chicken stock, add in the wild rice, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 minutes.
When your stove’s timer goes off (the timer on the stove in our rental is the worst timer in the history of stoves; it is so mean and judgy), add in 1/2 carton more of chicken stock, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, and 1/2 cup of milk. Let this cook for another 20 minutes.
When your mean, judgy timer goes off, you’re almost done.
At this point, the soup’s flavor profile was nearly perfect but it wasn’t quite thick enough for my liking. I whipped up a quick batch of slurry, tossed it in, stirred, and waited a couple of minutes more for the soup to thicken to my desired consistency.
As always, my measurements are not an exact science, but rather a guideline. Also, most of my meals serve two with leftovers for my lunch. We each had two bowls for dinner, and then I had a bowl the next day for lunch. These measurements could likely serve a family of four skinny people.
1 pound chicken breasts
4 celery stalks
3 cloves of garlic
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1.5 cartons chicken stock
1 cup wild rice
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
And that’s it.
Seriously y’all. This soup is AMAZEBALLS. You should definitely try it.