It seems like a lifetime ago when Peter and I lived in Minnesota.

It was the early 1990s. We both were undergrads at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and then lived for a short time on the bluffs of the St. Croix River overlooking the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.

It was there that we first discovered wild rice, which grows naturally along the shores of lakes in Northern Minnesota. Enjoyed as a side or a star in wintery potato soups, real wild rice is one of our favorite foods. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find the real deal!

To make the recipe below, do yourself an enormous favor and buy direct from a Native Ojibwe tribe that not only hand-harvests the rice using traditional methods, but also wood parches (dries) the rice in a way that preserves its intense grassy notes. It will blow you away!

Native Harvest’s wood-parched wild rice

Wild Rice & Chicken Soup

Only slightly modified from Food & Wine, we’ve been making this recipe quite a bit since the temperatures have dropped. We typically roast a whole JFF chicken, reserving the carcass for making broth and about a cup of cooked chicken for the soup. (If you feel like making loads of great broth, check out our packages of soup bones on Local Foods Mohawk Valley!)

4 T butter
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
Salt & pepper, to taste
1/4 C flour
1 C wild rice
2 quarts chicken stock
2 C water
4 C bite-size pieces of roasted chicken
1 C heavy cream

In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just start to soften, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, until evenly coated and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

Add the wild rice to the saucepan and gradually stir in the stock and water. Bring to a boil, then simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Add the chicken and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice is tender, approximately 10 minutes. Stir in the cream and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

The Week Ahead

Find a selection of chicken, cheeses, and eggs at Local Foods Mohawk Valley. Eggs are also at Cafe Domenico. Our online store is open for home delivery (Wednesday delivery only) and our farm store is always open daily, 10am-6pm.

Thank you, as always. If there is anything we can do for you, please let us know!

Suzie & Peter