I found a bowl of Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup in my freezer tonight.  It was like finding buried treasure because I thought I had eaten all of it already.  You see,  I made the soup several weeks ago with some real Minnesota wild rice someone had given me.  It was a great soup and I was happy to freeze the leftovers.  I enjoyed a few bowls of it, even took it to work for lunch.
Frozen soup really tastes great re-heated, believe it or not.  Everyone in my house is sick right now and no one wanted dinner so my bowl of soup was just perfect.  Earlier in the day, my daugher re-heated Albondigas Locas soup and my husband re-heated a bowl of beef chili.  I still have piles of soup in there so there’s never “nothing to eat” at home.  So if you want “treasure” in your freezer, make lots of soup and freeze it.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

1 T olive oil
1 cup lean ham, nitrate free, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup carrot, diced
1/4 cup celery, diced
2 T all purpose flour (optional)
3 T dry sherry
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice*
2 cups cooked chicken, chopped**
2 tsp minced fresh thyme
salt and pepper to tast
1 cup skim milk
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
toasted sliced almonds for garnish (optional)

Saute ham in olive oil for 3-4 minutes.  Add onion, carrot, and celery.  Cook until vegetables are softened.  Stir in flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Deglaze with sherry, scraping up bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add broth, cooked rice, chicken, and seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook 10 minutes.  Add milk and scallions.  Garnish with almonds.
Makes 8 cups, approximately 250 calories per cup.

*To cook wild rice:  Bring 2 cups chicken broth, 1 cup water, and 1 1/2 cups wild rice to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 50 minutes, until just tender.  Do not overcook.

**My favorite way to cook chicken for use in other recipes is to spray non stick spray on a baking sheet.  Place chicken breasts which have been dried off and seasoned with a little sea salt and freshly ground pepper on the baking sheet.  Place in a 375 degree oven and cook for 10 minutes, turn over and cook for 10 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Don’t overcook it!  Use a meat thermometer and check the internal temperature to be sure.  Poultry should be 170 degrees, but remember it will continue to cook more after removed from the oven, so take it out at 165 or a little less.
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