This Chicken Wild Rice Soup recipe contains ham for added flavor. It is perfect for cold winter days!
It’s still cold here in Minnesota. So cold that we paid to go ice skating indoors this weekend, rather than using one of the free outdoor rinks. Everyone is sick of the cold weather and the snowbanks that are so high you can’t see over them in some places. What do you do when it is so cold out (besides rack up a huge heating bill)? You make comfort food like warm soup for dinner.
Wild rice is very prevalent here in Minnesota. We have wild rice soup, wild rice salad and eat wild rice, often mixed with white rice, as a side dish. For much of my life, I never even gave wild rice a thought and just figured that everyone else ate wild rice like we did. Then, one time when I had out of state company and served them wild rice soup, they made a comment about all of the wild rice in Minnesota and how we must really like it. It made me realize that not everyone else has it as much as we do. I found out that wild rice is the Minnesota state grain. It is native to North America and grows predominantly in the Great Lakes region. For many years, nearly all the wild rice produced in the world came from Minnesota, and most still does.
I typically make wild rice soup with chicken using a recipe that my mother-in-law gave me. I decided to add ham this time and one of these days I am going to make it with bacon!
I prefer using wild rice that has already been cooked. The precooked wild rice is sold in canned and frozen varieties in our grocery stores. Cooking wild rice takes about an hour and it doesn’t smell very good while cooking so the precooked version is way easier!
- Melt butter in a 6 quart pot over medium-high heat.
- Add celery, carrots, and onions. Saute until tender crisp.
- Stir in flour and mixture will become lumpy.
- Add chicken broth and milk. Stir until the lumps are gone.
- Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken.
- Add chicken, ham and cooked wild rice.
- Continue heating, stirring often as the soup thickens, until it starts to boil and the chicken, ham and wild rice are hot.
- Taste to see if you need to add salt and more pepper. (I added 1 tsp of salt and another 1/2 tsp of pepper.)
Want more wild rice inspiration? Here are a few more recipes to try: