Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

In spite of my optimism for spring, Mother Nature is apparently not ready to give up on winter. It’s cold today, with a biting wind. So maybe no Buttermilk Chicken Salad just yet. What to do, then, with the Easy Homemade Poultry Seasoning you made this week? Well, do I have some comfort food for you!

I was so excited to find an Instant Pot recipe for Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. It was one of the “set it & forget it” variety, just right for when you don’t feel like putting a lot of effort into it. I had reservations, thinking it surprising that it didn’t call for sautéing anything first, but set them aside in favor of easy. Bad move. Now, let me just say that there’s plenty of room in this world for differing opinions. It may well be that the author of the recipe actually likes her chicken soup white. I know lots of people like their gravy white, so why not soup? I’m just not one of those folks. Vichyssoise is white soup. So’s clam chowder. The New England kind. Sorry, while that tomato-based clam soup they make in Manhattan is good, it ain’t clam chowder in my book. Chicken soup (and gravy, too) should be brown, in my opinion anyway. It’s not that I object to the color in and of itself, it’s just that there’s so much more flavor that comes from browning the meat and vegetables. I also didn’t care for the taste or texture of flour as a thickener. So, I set out to see if I could make a soup that worked for me.

There was another huge surprise for me with this soup. I uttered words that never, ever have come out of my mouth, not in nearly six decades. “I think maybe it needs more mushrooms.” See, mushrooms have never been one of my favorites (that’s code in our family for “Eeeeeuw, YUK!) They actually made me gag when I was younger. But I learned from my mom how not to pass on your food dislikes to your kids. Grin & bear it, basically, Woman up and fake it. Eat the damn stuff without letting on that you hate it. So I managed to eat a few mushrooms over the years without croaking or barfing, which is why I was willing to try this soup. And why I wondered if the flavor would be even better with more. As it turns out, more mushrooms didn’t make any difference at all — they just needed to be sautéed.

Another flavor adjustment I made was to throw a parmesan rind in. You won’t taste the cheese at all unless you forget to remove the rind and accidentally bite into it. But it adds a depth and richness of flavor, a little umami boost. For thickness, I used egg yolk and cream. You won’t taste the egg at all, either, but you’ll love the smooth, silky mouthfeel of this soup. And despite the cream and egg yolk, the soup earns an “A” from my nutrition app.

With all this sautéing, why not just skip the Instant Pot altogether and make the soup on the stovetop? I tried that, too, and it works just fine. So if you don’t have an Instant Pot yet, you can still have some great soup. The reason I’m sticking with the IP for this, though, is the wild rice cook time. I can stay in the kitchen for an hour, watching a pot on the stove to make sure it neither boils over nor boils dry, or I can let the IP do that for me and go do something else after I’ve sautéed everything.

My recipe does involve a little more hands-on time, but I think you’ll agree that it’s worth every minute. It’s so, so good!

Ingredients:

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¾ pound (340 g) chicken

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

5 medium carrots

5 medium stalks of celery

1 onion, 6 to 7 oz (170 to 200 g)

3 large cloves garlic

8 oz (225 g) fresh mushrooms

1 parmesan rind

6 cups (1.5 Litre) unsalted chicken broth

1 cup (45 g) uncooked wild rice (single ingredient, not a blend)

1½ tsp Easy Homemade Poultry Seasoning (or substitute store-bought)

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs

6 Tbsp heavy cream (84 g double cream)

Directions:

1.) Chop carrots and celery; set aside together. Dice the onion; set it aside separately.Mince the garlic, also setting aside separately. Set aside.

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2.) Rinse and chop the mushrooms; set aside separately.

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3.) With the lid off, set the Instant Pot to “Sauté,” and use the “Adjust” button to select “More.” While the pot heats, cut the chicken into chunks. When the display reads “Hot,” Add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add the chicken, working in batches to prevent overcrowding. Sauté, stirring frequently, until chicken browns. Transfer the chicken from the pot to a large bowl, leaving behind as much of the oil as possible.

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I should have done this in batches. See the bubbles at the bottom of the pic? Too much moisture means the chicken is too crowded and won’t brown as well.

4.) Turn off the pot, press “Sauté” and use the “Adjust” button again to return it to “normal.” Add the carrots and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the celery starts to turn translucent. Transfer to the chicken bowl, again leaving as much oil in the pot as you can.

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5.) Add the last Tbsp of the oil and the onions. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the onion softens. Add the garlic. Cook just until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. There will be some browning, but be careful not to let it scorch. It goes very quickly! (Ignore the stray carrots & celery, they got in there by accident.)

6.) Add the chopped mushrooms. Cook until they begin to brown and most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently. Transfer the mixture to the chicken bowl.

7.) Pour in 2 cups of the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, scraping all the yummy brown bits up off the bottom of the pot. Cook until the liquid has been reduced by half. Turn the pot off. Add the poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, parmesan rind, and rice.

8.) Add the rest of the broth, close and lock the lid, and shut the steam valve. Set the pot on “Manual” for 45 minutes. Expect the pot to take about 15 minutes to come to pressure.

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9.) While the soup cooks, separate the yolks from the eggs, reserving the whites for another use. You can buy all sorts of gizmos for this, but I find my hands work just as well — and they’re free! Whisk the cream into the yolks, and pop the mixture in the fridge until needed.

10.) When the cooking time is up, carefully open the steam valve to release the pressure. Expect this to take 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the inner pot and set on a wire rack to cool. Scoop out about a half cup (120 ml) of the broth. Get your egg and cream mixture out of the fridge, and your thermometer ready.

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11.) When the removed broth has cooled to about 160 F, whisk 1 Tbsp (15 ml) into the yolk-cream mixture. Blend well. Repeat until the entire volume of broth that you removed has been mixed into the yolks and cream.

12.) Push the soup solids aside to make some room in the pot, and slowly stir in the yolk-cream-broth mixture, mixing well. Check the temperature of the soup. It needs to remain at 160 F or higher for several minutes, in order to be sure the egg yolks cook through. If it’s cooled too much, just return it to the instant pot and use the sauté function to give it some heat — no need to return it to pressure. Remove the parmesan rind before serving, and enjoy!

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Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

Ingredients

¾ pound (340 g) chicken

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

5 medium carrots

5 medium stalks of celery

1 onion, 6 to 7 oz (170 to 200 g)

3 large cloves garlic

8 oz (225 g) fresh mushrooms

1 parmesan rind

6 cups (1.5 Litre) unsalted chicken broth

1 cup (45 g) uncooked wild rice (single ingredient, not a blend)

1½ tsp Easy Homemade Poultry Seasoning (or substitute store-bought)

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs

6 Tbsp heavy cream (84 g double cream)

Directions

1.) Chop carrots and celery; set aside together. Dice the onion; set it aside separately.Mince the garlic, also setting aside separately. Set aside.

2.) Rinse and chop the mushrooms; set aside separately.

3.) With the lid off, set the Instant Pot to “Sauté,” and use the “Adjust” button to select “More.” While the pot heats, cut the chicken into chunks. When the display reads “Hot,” Add 1 Tbsp of the olive oil. Add the chicken, working in batches to prevent overcrowding. Sauté, stirring frequently, until chicken browns. Transfer the chicken from the pot to a large bowl, leaving behind as much of the oil as possible.

4.) Turn off the pot, press “Sauté” and use the “Adjust” button again to return it to “normal.” Add the carrots and celery. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the celery starts to turn translucent. Transfer to the chicken bowl, again leaving as much oil in the pot as you can.

5.) Add the last Tbsp of the oil and the onions. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the onion softens. Add the garlic. Cook just until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. There will be some browning, but be careful not to let it scorch. It goes very quickly! (Ignore the stray carrots & celery, they got in there by accident.)

6.) Add the chopped mushrooms. Cook until they begin to brown and most of the liquid has evaporated, stirring frequently. Transfer the mixture to the chicken bowl.

7.) Pour in 2 cups of the chicken broth. Bring it to a boil, scraping all the yummy brown bits up off the bottom of the pot. Cook until the liquid has been reduced by half. Turn the pot off. Add the poultry seasoning, salt, pepper, parmesan rind, and rice.

8.) Add the rest of the broth, close and lock the lid, and shut the steam valve. Set the pot on “Manual” for 45 minutes. Expect the pot to take about 15 minutes to come to pressure.

9.) While the soup cooks, separate the yolks from the eggs, reserving the whites for another use. You can buy all sorts of gizmos for this, but I find my hands work just as well — and they’re free! Whisk the cream into the yolks, and pop the mixture in the fridge until needed.

10.) When the cooking time is up, carefully open the steam valve to release the pressure. Expect this to take 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the inner pot and set on a wire rack to cool. Scoop out about a half cup (120 ml) of the broth. Get your egg and cream mixture out of the fridge, and your thermometer ready.

11.) When the removed broth has cooled to about 160 F, whisk 1 Tbsp (15 ml) into the yolk-cream mixture. Blend well. Repeat until the entire volume of broth that you removed has been mixed into the yolks and cream.

12.) Push the soup solids aside to make some room in the pot, and slowly stir in the yolk-cream-broth mixture, mixing well. Check the temperature of the soup. It needs to remain at 160 F or higher for several minutes, in order to be sure the egg yolks cook through. If it’s cooled too much, just return it to the instant pot and use the sauté function to give it some heat — no need to return it to pressure. Remove the parmesan rind before serving, and enjoy!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. mistimaan says:

    Looks too tasty 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. julie says:

      It really is!

      Liked by 1 person

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