Happy once. Happy twice. Happy chicken soup with rice. I read that book so many times to my son when he was little, I knew it by heart. Even now, just seeing a Maurice Sendak book brings back memories, not only of my kids’ childhoods, but my own. I grew up with Maurice Sendak books. They are timeless and yet they connect me to the past. His words and illustrations leave me with a sense of comfort and home. It doesn’t matter if it is Where the Wild Things Are or the Little Bear series or Chicken Soup With Rice. It’s strange how the act of reading can transport you to another time and place, but then the memories of those books can also transport you to a completely different time and place. I read those words “happy chicken soup with rice” and I remember my little boy begging me to make it for him. I see the smile on his face when I tell him that’s what we’re having for dinner. Memories brought back by the simple power of words printed on a page.
Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
[adapted from All Recipes]
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 boneless chicken breast halves (can be frozen)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 (4.5 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter
2 cups heavy cream (I used 2% milk and it came out fine)
In a large pot over medium heat, combine the broth, water, and chicken. Bring to a boil and simmer until chicken is cooked through. Add the carrots. Take out the chicken breasts, shred with two forks and return to the pot. Simmer until the carrots are tender. Add the rice (saving the seasoning packet). Cover and remove from heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and pepper. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in contents of the rice seasoning packet until dissolved and bubbly. Reduce heat to low and gradually whisk in the flour mixture to form a roux. Whisk in the cream a little bit at a time until nice and smooth. Cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Gradually stir the cream mixture into the chicken broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through.