Chicken and sausage wild rice soup for the win

Chicken and sausage wild rice soup for the win

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

There’s nothing better than a nice bowl of steaming hot soup for supper when the weather gets colder and the sun sets way too early. Chili is always a fan favorite, but why not change things up a bit? I can’t take credit for this delicious recipe, so I will grudgingly tell you that my husband is the real chef in our family. He hates following recipes and likes to come up with his own spin on just about anything I ask him to make. When I was feeling particularly homesick, I asked my husband to make some Minnesota wild rice soup. With a few additions of his own to the traditional recipe, he came up with the following concoction, for which he has received many compliments. 

Chicken and Sausage Wild Rice Soup

Start to finish: 1 hour 30 minutes (Prep time: 30 minutes, cook time: 40 minutes - 1 hour)

Servings: 10 - 12 

3 cans 14.5-ounce chicken stock

1-pint heavy cream

2 pints whole milk

¼ cup light beer or cooking wine (red or white wine is fine, but don’t use bitter or dark beer)

⅛ cup oil (Canola, olive or vegetable)

2 pounds of chicken breast, cubed

1 pound sausage (I use Jimmy Dean) 

3 - 4 stalks of celery, cleaned and chopped

3 - 4 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped

5 - 10 cloves of garlic, depending on size

1 - 6-ounce box long grain and wild rice (I use Uncle Ben’s) 

¼ cup flour

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

Sea salt and pepper to taste 

Prep - Chop all of your vegetables and separate them into the following categories: carrots, celery, ½ onion and ½ garlic together on a plate and set aside. The other ½ onion and ½ garlic goes on a separate plate.

Cube your chicken into ½ inch to 1-inch chunks. Set aside. 

Cooking - Start with a large stockpot, minimum 5 quarts. Heat the pot on medium-high heat. It’s ready when you spritz the bottom of the pan with water and the droplets stay intact. Lightly coat the bottom of the pot with oil. Immediately add your chicken. Be careful, the oil will spatter. Constantly stir the chicken to prevent sticking to the pan. If the chicken sticks, add a little more oil. Cook chicken for approximately 5 minutes. It does not need to be fully cooked. 

Add prepped plate of carrots, celery, ½ onion and ½ garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as ½ red pepper flakes. Continue to cook for 10 - 12 minutes. Add 3 cans of chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, add in your long grain and wild rice with the seasoning packet (included in the box). Continue to boil for 1 - 2 minutes. Turn heat to low and let simmer while covered until rice is tender/ while you continue to make sausage mixture. 

To make the sausage mixture - start heating a large frying pan with a high rim on medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Since there is a little bit of fat in the sausage, add it to the frying pan right away. No need to wait for it to reach full heat. Continuously break up sausage to help it cook faster. You want crunchy, small pieces. Once the sausage is light gray in color, add in the rest of your onion and garlic, ½ red pepper flakes and more salt and pepper to taste. Continue cooking sausage, onion and garlic mix until the onions start to caramelize, the sausage is crispy and the bottom of the pan is starting to get sticky (if using stainless). 

Deglaze your sausage mixture with beer or cooking wine. This means - release the food stuck to the pan with the beer or wine. To do this, simply pour in the beer or wine and stir. If you don’t want to use alcohol, you can use some of your chicken stock from the boiling pot. Turn heat down to low as the frying pan is deglazing. 

Now you are going to make the sausage gravy. To do this, add approximately ¼ cup oil to your sausage mix in the frying pan. Add in flour by dusting it evenly over the sausage mixture. Using a whisk, make sure every particle of flour is covered in oil. If it’s not, slowly add a little more oil until covered. Your sausage mix will now start to thicken and get slightly pasty. Once all of the flour is coated in oil and your sausage mix is pasty, add in 1 pint of heavy cream and 1 pint of whole milk, continuously whisking as you do so. Your sausage mixture should now begin to look like sausage gravy (like for biscuits and gravy). If your gravy is too thick, slowly add in some milk. If it is too thin, don’t worry. Let it sit on low - medium heat and keep a close eye until it reduces to a thicker gravy. Be careful not to boil and scorch the dairy products. 

Once your rice is tender and your sausage gravy is ready, you can combine the two in the stockpot. Stir to combine and cook on medium heat for 5 - 10 minutes. Once combined, if it is still too thick, add more whole milk or more chicken stock. If it’s too thin, continue to let simmer and reduce on medium or medium-high heat. When you’re happy with the consistency of the soup (it will be a thicker soup), you can let it cool so you don’t burn your tongue a bit and enjoy! 

Serve with a kaiser roll and butter for an extra amazing meal. 

Recipe courtesy of Tai Zen. 

What’s your favorite soup? Do you prefer the traditional chicken noodle or do you like to change it up a bit and have some white chili? Either way, give this chicken and sausage wild rice soup recipe a try for yourself and see what you think. You just may have found a new favorite! 

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