I love fall! It is my favorite season and we’ve been blessed with an amazing one this year. I love the colors, I love the smells, I love the snappiness to the air. And I love fall food – especially soup!
My family and friends consider me an excellent cook, and I’m quite the recipe maven, trying several new ones every week. But I’ve never been one to create my own concoctions. Until I tried the creamy chicken and wild rice soup at Panera Bread. One taste and I was in heaven. After eating it on a couple different occasions, I decided to come up with my own version. It took me about three tries to come up with the one that I felt matched Panera’s the closest. It might even be a bit better. 🙂 And, it’s pretty easy, too! It has become a fall/winter menu staple. Since it’s perfect soup weather today (we got snow yesterday!) I thought I would share it with all of you. Enjoy!
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
2 boxes (4.3 oz) Long grain and wild rice mix (I use Rice-a-Roni brand)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes – or the meat from 1 deli baked rotisserie chicken. (I actually prefer the rotisserie chicken over the chicken breasts, super-easy and great flavor!)
2 stalks celery, chopped with tops
1 1/2 c sliced carrots
1 small onion, chopped
1 TBL olive oil
1 can cream of chicken with herbs soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 c milk
2 c chicken broth
Prepare long grain and wild rice as directed on package.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. If using uncooked chicken breasts, add them and cook, stirring, until no longer pink. Add vegetables and cook, stirring, until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. (If you are using shredded rotisserie chicken, stir fry the veggies and add chicken at the end.)
Add soups, milk and broth and stir until smooth. Add cooked long grain and wild rice and simmer 15 minutes until heated through and flavors have blended.
This does get VERY thick. You may wish to decrease the amount of milk and add more broth, or add more broth or water to thin it to your taste. If you are very adventurous, try making your own bread bowls – or you can purchase bread bowls from Panera. Yum! I serve this with biscuits and a couple slices of sharp cheddar cheese.
It will certainly warm you up on a cold evening!