I may or may not have originally set out to make a pilaf. My original inspiration was this Rice-A-Roni copycat recipe. And then it didn’t go exactly as planned and I turned it into a wild rice soup recipe. I initially added too much liquid into the pot to cook the rice. But don’t hold it against the recipe I linked if you want to try it. I was not following it exactly as I was trying to make my own thing. When I realized I’d added too much and wouldn’t be able to cook the excess off without turning the rice to mush, I decided to pivot.
And it really worked out better than I could have imagined. Especially since my wife really likes wild rice soup. She typically prefers chicken and wild rice soup, but I didn’t have any chicken on hand at the time. I know, poor pantry planning. But more on the chicken later. Plus, it gave us a good meatless Monday meal.
That is one of the reasons that I love cooking so much. It isn’t an exact science. You can easily adapt, modify, or change most things during the process. I don’t get it right every time, and I definitely don’t get it right the first time a whole lot. But you learn.
Just recognize that most dishes are not too late to salvage with the right know-how.
General Wild Rice Soup Recipe
The basic steps for this soup are sautéing the shallot and garlic in butter, then adding carrots and celery while stirring for a few minutes. Add in the rice and let cook for a few more minutes and then cover it with chicken stock and a few herbs. Let it cook covered, then uncovered, and then stir in some cream and parmesan when the rice is almost finished cooking. That’s it.
It takes a little bit longer in practice, but a lot of the cooking time takes little actual effort. While the lid is on you don’t even have to stir at all. It just takes some time to slowly simmer and let the rice and chicken stock do their thing.
The key is to cook the rice through without over-cooking to where the rice is mushy. It’s just an uncomfortable texture to be eating mushy rice or rice that is still a bit too hard and crunches when you bite down. It is a balancing effort. But luckily there is a decently wide window of time where the rice will be cooked to perfection.
Making it Your Own
For a good wild rice soup recipe, you need to start it off with some quality rice. I wholeheartedly endorse the Lundberg wild rice blend but recognize that you may have a different wild rice mix you prefer. I will note that I prefer a blend of wild rice with other rice. The one I linked has wild, brown, red, and black rice varieties. This helps round out the profile of the dish and makes it less one-note.
One of the other most important ingredients is the chicken stock. You can make your own homemade chicken stock, but it isn’t necessary for this meal. I think enough other ingredients are added so that you aren’t having just straight broth where that homemade flavor would add so much more – like chicken noodle soup.
Now, like I usually say, this recipe is not written in stone. It is up for adaptation based on your needs. As I said before, you could easily add chicken to the soup. Have one to two cups of shredded or cubed cooked chicken ready to add along with the cream and parmesan toward the end of cooking. The same can be done with sauteed sliced mushrooms for another twist on the recipe.
If you don’t happen to have a shallot on hand, then it can easily be replaced with about half a cup of finely chopped onion. And if you are looking to punch up the flavor of the chicken stock, add 1/2 teaspoon of roasted garlic Better than Bouillon to the pan along with the stock and herbs.
Speaking of herbs, you can swap some out or add more in. Or you could change from carrots and celery to a mix of other vegetables as a base. Let me know how you mix things up with this wild rice soup in the comments.
Creamy Parmesan Wild Rice SoupCourse: SoupsDifficulty: Easy
Creamy wild rice soup with deep flavor and notes of garlic, parmesan, and thyme
2 cloves garlic
1 large shallot
1 large carrot
2 stalks of celery
4 tablespoons butter
1 and 1/2 cups wild rice blend
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 and 1/2 cups parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Mince the garlic and finely chop the shallot, carrot, and celery
- Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat
- Add the garlic and shallot to the pan and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes until shallot begins to turn translucent
- Stir the carrot and celery into the pan and cook for 5 minutes
- Pour the rice into the pan, stir to coat it in butter, and cook for 5 minutes while stirring
- Add the chicken stock, sage, and thyme to the pan, turn the heat to medium-high, and bring it to a boil
- Turn the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid, and simmer for 35 minutes
- Remove the lid and cook for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally
- Stir in the cream and parmesan and cook for about 15 more minutes, until the rice is tender but not mushy
- Serve the soup in bowls and sprinkle with parsley to garnish