Friday, November 12, 2010

Five Dollar Friday: Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Recently Thatcher, Haddon and I had lunch at Panera. Thatch tried this soup and loved it. I immediately came home and started searching for a similar recipe to make for our family. I made a pot and Thatch declared that it was just as good as what he had at the restaurant. :) And you can get it on the table in less than 30 minutes if you cheat like I did and start with a rotisserie chicken and a box of chicken stock.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
(a nod to Panera Bread)

1 box long grain & wild rice w/seasoning packet (I used Uncle Ben's 6 oz)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 a yellow onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup all purpose flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water (optional)
2 cooked chicken breasts off rotisserie chicken chopped in bite-sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups milk (I used 2 % to get some richness but keep calories and fat lower)

1. Prepare rice according to directions; set aside.
2. Heat olive oil on medium heat in stock pot and cook onion until translucent. Add celery and carrot and cook 3 more minutes or until slightly tender.
3. Remove vegetable mixture from pan and save. Add butter to stockpot and melt. Add flour slowly and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
4. Add chicken stock slowly, also stirring constantly. Raise temperature to medium high and cook until slightly thickened.
5. Lower temp to medium low. Add cooked vegetables, rice, chicken and milk to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until heated through and thickened. Add water as needed until soup is desired consistency.

Thoughts about this recipe:

I love soup. When fall arrives in Houston I am always excited about two things: no more mosquitoes (for a few months anyway) and making soup. But soup is more of an art than a science; a recipe is just a starting place in my opinion. ;) This soup is no different. The recipe above is a mixture of four different recipes I found and above is the way I like it. You may want more veggies or less, more chicken, thicker, thinner, whole milk or even heavy cream (yum, but oh the calories!). Use this as a place to start. Just be sure to snag your ingredients on sale to keep price of final meal low. I used several organic ingredients in my soup so your price will be lower if you use non-organic or will balance it all out if you can't get some of the ingredients on sale.

Cost Breakdown: $6.70 (recipe makes enough for dinner and a lunch or two for dh to take to work)

$ .14 -olive oil
$ .25 - 1/2 yellow onion
$. 20 -2 organic carrots
$ . 25 - 2 celery stalks
$1.50 - 4 cups organic chicken stock (one box on sale)
$2.00 - 2 chicken breasts off rotisserie chicken (sale)
$ 1.29 - 1 package long grain and wild rice (sale)
$ .05 - 3/4 cup all purpose flour
$. 40 1/2 cup butter (sale)
$ .62 - 2 cups organic milk (sale)


Stephanie and Ted said...

Thanks for sharing this! This is my husband's favorite soup at Panera, but much to his chagrin somehow we seem to eat there when it's not on the menu for the day. I'll be adding this to my 'try' list for sure.

Jennifer Keown said...

You can make this even cheaper by making your own chicken broth... pull all the meat off the rotisserie chicken and put all the leftovers (skin, bones) in a pot and cover with water. Simmer about 20 minutes and strain! You will get about 6-8 cups broth per chicken. I do this with every rotisserie chicken I buy and freeze the broth if I don't need it right away. I almost never have to buy broth!