There are few foods that evoke a feeling of tradition, family and home like a good chicken soup. The perfect winter food, recipes for chicken soup have been passed down through the generations like folklore, providing nourishment and good health for the whole family. This particular recipe is made using homemade chicken broth, from organic, pastured chickens. Slow-cooked broth is an ancient food, and has always been heralded for its health benefits. It is known for boosting the immune system, healing the digestive tract, and making healthy skin, joints, bones and teeth because of the gelatin and collagen it contains. Bone broth is packed with minerals, and contains the amino acids glycine and glutamine, known for their detoxification and anti-inflammatory properties. The apple cider vinegar in this recipe helps make the minerals from the broth more available to the body, by pulling them from the chicken bones. You can use store-bought bone broth for this recipe, but I highly recommend making your own broth, as these health benefits will be much higher in a homemade version.
I used wild rice in this recipe because it is a traditional food native to the upper Great Lakes area and is still wild harvested in our region today. The recipe calls for soaking it for several hours or overnight before adding to the soup to help decrease cooking time as well as make the rice easier to digest. Feel free to use brown rice or a wild rice blend in your soup, but keep the soaking step.
This recipe can easily be doubled if making for a crowd or family gathering, or can be halved for a cozy night in at home. Leftover chicken from making the broth can be used for a delicious chicken salad, in enchiladas, or on sandwiches. Any extra broth can be served straight up, as a liquid for cooking vegetables, or for other soups. This recipe can also be made with any kind of meat or broth you might already have, like those made from holiday turkey leftovers.
To learn more about the health benefits of homemade broth, I recommend the book Nourishing Broth by Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, and Dr. Kaayla Daniels. There is a lot of great information about why you should make real broth a part of your diet, especially in the winter months, and a lot of wonderful recipes! It might seem like extra work to make your own broth for this recipe, but I promise it's worth it, both for flavor and nutrition. Find an organically and/or humanely-raised chicken that lived outside, and get cooking!
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
with Homemade Broth
Prep time: 30-45 minutes, plus 6-8 hours for soaking the rice and 12-24 hours for the broth
Cook time: 1 hour to prepare the soup
For the slow cooker broth:
1 whole chicken
3 quarts of water
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
Place chicken, water, vinegar and salt in a slow cooker. Cover and set to low.
Let cook 12-24 hours, depending on how rich you like your broth. Cook until the chicken comes away from the bone easily.
Remove the chicken from the broth, separating the meat and bones.
Reserve 2 cups of the chicken meat and 2 quarts of the strained broth for the soup.
For the soup:
1/2 cup wild rice
1 cup water
1 Tbs yogurt or drained whey from yogurt/kefir
Place wild rice, water and yogurt in a small bowl and let sit 6-8 hours, or overnight.
Drain and set rice aside.
2 Tbs butter
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium parsnip, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Bouquet Garni (1 sprig fresh rosemary, 3-4 sprigs thyme, and 1-2 sprigs sage tied together with kitchen twine)
2 cups chicken meat, chopped
2 quarts chicken broth
1/2 tsp sea salt, to taste
1/4 tsp pepper
Optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream to make a creamy soup
1. In a large soup pot, heat butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the onions. Saute 5 minutes until they start to sweat and become translucent.
2. Add the celery, carrots and parsnips. Saute 5-8 more minutes until they soften and start to brown slightly.
3. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.
4. Add the drained wild rice, chicken meat, Bouquet Garni and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cover and let simmer about 45 minutes until the wild rice is tender.
5. Remove the Bouquet Garni, and add salt and pepper to taste.
6. If making a creamy soup, add the heavy cream at this time. Otherwise, serve as is.
Serve this hearty soup with some crusty sourdough bread and butter, and you're all set!
Brine & Broth
I am a gut health-focused nutritionist and online health coach based in Southwest Wisconsin. My recipes and philosophies center around traditional, nutrient-dense foods that support robust gut health.