What’s better in the dark days of January than a big pot of delicious soup just ready and waiting. And the slow cooker is the easiest way to make that happen. There is a little work involved here (a very little) but the end result is a comforting, homey bowl filled with chicken and vegetables and hearty, nutty wild rice, all with a breathe of woodsy sage and herbs. Put this on when you leave the house and come home to a wonderful aroma and a magnificent feast. I just find this so down-home and simple and satisfying, I keep wild rice around to make it.
Use pure wild rice, not a blend or a quick cooking version. I love Bell’s poutry seasoing in it’s little yellow box, but your favorite will do, or even and herb blend like Italian seasoning. Tucking in some sage sprigs with the leaves attached that are removed before serving infuses the soup with flavor. Chopped sage tends to go black and unappealing in the cooking, but some finely chopped fresh sage sprinkled over the finished soup bowls wouldn’t go amiss. I adore the woodsy, heady, wintery taste of sage with wild rice, but you could do the same with rosemary or thyme. Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature and don’t worry if it looks a little curdled when you first add it in, it will smooth out.
Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
1 cup wild rice (not wild rice blend)
1 (10 ounce package) frozen mirepoix (onion, carrots and celery), see note
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (I like Bell’s)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
2 sprigs of fresh sage
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup white wine (or an additional cup broth)
1 ½ cups water
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup half and half
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- Spray the crock of a 7- 8 quart slow cooker. With cooking spray. Put the wild rice in a sieve and rinse well. Spread the mirepoix over the bottom of the slow cooker and place the chicken on top. Sprinkle over the salt, poultry seasoning and generous grinds of black pepper. Add the wild rice and garlic and tuck the sage sprigs (leaves attached) between the chicken. Pour over the broth, wine and water, cover and cook on high for 3 hours.
- When the chicken is cooked through (165 degrees internal temperature) lift it out of the soup into a bowl and shred it into pieces. I think the best way to do this is with a hand mixer, but two forks work just fine. Remove the sage sprigs from the soup and discard. Drop the room temperature cream cheese into the soup to melt, then put the half and half and corn starch in a small bowl and whisk it together until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add a spoon of the hot broth and whisk it in, then add it all back to the crockpot and whisk it in well. Return the shredded chicken to the pot, cover it again and cook a further 30 minutes to an hour until the rice is very tender. Serve immediately.
- Mirepoix is the French kitchen term for diced onion, celery and carrots. I readily find bags of frozen mirepoix at larger grocery stores, but you can also use a mirepoix blend you find fresh in the produce section of some stores. Or simple dice a small onion, 3 celery stalks and 2 carrots and use. Frozen mirepoix is a great timesaver, so I always like to have some on hand.