Soup is the perfect vehicle for those of us who cook without a net; it's a great place to improvise. This particular soup's richness comes from whole milk, chicken stock and a little bit of sharp cheddar instead of heavy cream. The almonds add a surprising crunch and enhance the nuttiness of the wild rice. Sautéing the chicken with ah herb-spice crust also boosts the flavor of the soup, but you can certainly use leftover roast chicken to save time. —Rivertree kitchen
4 to 6
boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into large strips (or chicken tenders)
Season the chicken pieces well with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Sauté in a stockpot with the oil over medium-high heat until they're well browned and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
Add 2 tbs. of the butter to the pan. Add the onion, carrot, bell pepper, and garlic; sauté for 5 to 7 minutes until the veggies are softened.
Add 2 tbs. of the flour and stir until incorporated; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 5 cups of the stock. Add the wild rice and simmer for 15 minutes or so.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1 tbs. butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the remaining tbs. flour and cook for 2 minutes. While the flour cooks, heat the milk in the microwave until it’s warm, about 1 minute. Whisk the warm milk into the flour-butter roux and cook until it’s smooth and thickened. Whisk in the cheddar until it’s melted into the milk. Stir the cheesy sauce into the soup and heat through.
Shred the cooked chicken and add along with the almonds just before serving. Add extra chicken stock if the soup is too thick. This soup freezes very well.