Chicken Bacon Wild Rice Soup

This morning I got out of bed around 5am.

chicken wild rice soup

Less because I was up ambitiously early and more because I never really fell asleep.

I walked outside and sat on the edge of our second floor apartment in my pajamas. It was still mostly dark and already hot. Dogs barking, roosters crowing, old and young people walking down our alley, a few coming back from late night Christmas parties, most just headed home with little pastel plastic bags filled with their early morning market purchases. At 5am. It was noisy and alive and strangely peaceful.

PS. Meet my food photography assistant/saboteur.

chicken wild rice soup

I needed onions for my soup, but the grocery store wasn’t open at 5am so I made my way out into the world to the produce stand on our street. When I got downstairs, Romeo, our night security guard, set down his coffee and opened the gate for me as I walked out. A tricycle cab driver passed me with his first rider of the morning sitting in the side car next to him. Valentino, the elderly man who lives in a tin roof lean-to on the street corner and sleeps on a wooden bench and has one tooth in his whole mouth, smiled and waved sweetly at me.

The produce stand was out of onions. As I was walking away, I heard the owners – a mom and daughter – speaking Cebuano to each other and then suddenly the mother was running after me, happily holding out the remaining half of her own family’s tiny purple onion in a little pastel plastic bag, “no charge.”

Chicken Wild Rice Soup

I heard at least a hundred good mornings before I made it to the bake shop where I bought two plain sugar donuts for twenty cents. Packed in a little pastel plastic bag. Always. The tricycle cab driver, the same one, passed me on the street, stuffing one of three pieces of plain bread into his mouth as he pedaled, purchased with the coins from the morning’s first ride. I found another produce stand with piles of green onions and ginger and malunggay leaves on a table next to a rickety butcher’s knife and a piece of wood, wet with blood, fat, and flies, to the left of a slab of raw meat, sitting over buckets of very unclear water. I didn’t feel nauseous.

Actually, yes I did.

But I did a good job of hiding it and I bought the green onions for five cents.

Then I made this soup, and I missed talking with my mom in the kitchen while stirring our massive soup pot all day on Christmas Eve, and sitting for too long on the couch with my dad, everyone still in our pajamas, eating the leftovers for lunch the next day.

chicken wild rice soup

Instead, I dressed up a shepherd and had an entire orphanage over for dinner.

It was insane.

Christmas-5

Hot.

Christmas-4

Funny.

Christmas-1

A gift.

Christmas-2

And the soup? They loved it.

Chicken Bacon Wild Rice Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20
 
Ingredients
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast, cooked and shredded
  • 1 ½ pounds bacon, cooked and crumbled, grease reserved
  • 1 cup rinsed wild rice
  • ½ cup green onions (or add sauteed garlic/onion)
  • 3 10.75 oz cans cream of chicken soup (my mom uses chicken broth with less water)
  • 5 cans water
  • 5 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ teaspoons salt + ½ teaspoon pepper (more to taste)
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 3 cups milk
  • additional water, milk, or broth for thinning
Instructions
  1. Prep the chicken and bacon.
  2. Whisk the cream of chicken soup and water together in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add the green onions and wild rice and cook, covered, for 30-45 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to soak in pan, covered, for up to 1 hour (this is optional – just makes the consistency of the rice a little softer). There should still be a little bit of liquid in the pan at this point.
  3. In a large saucepan or skillet, melt the bacon grease and 2 tablespoons butter over low heat. Add the flour and salt and pepper and stir until a thick paste forms. Cook for 1 minute. Add the half and half and milk. Whisk until smooth and thick – about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the creamy mixture to the rice pan. Add the chicken and bacon and continue to cook over very low heat for at least 8 hours. You can also transfer the soup to a slow cooker and just keep it on low. Adjust the consistency to your preferences by adding more milk or water and whisking until smooth.
Notes
This soup will be very thick. To achieve the kind of consistency that you want, it's important to thin it out gradually with water, milk, or broth - especially the leftovers as they thicken even more. To achieve the best flavor, you really need to let it cook for at least 8 hours. I know it's a long time, but trust me - I sampled it at one hour and 8 hours and it tasted much better after the wait. We usually keep the seasonings pretty simple but adjust as you like!

Chicken Bacon Wild Rice Soup Nutrition

This is actually a remake of one of my older recipes- same name and everything. You can see that post here.

I’m going to be taking some time off from Pinch of Yum over the holidays. In addition to playing with kids and their new Christmas presents and resting a little bit if the dogs will allow it, I’ll be doing some major recording of food photography video lessons and screencasts for Food Blogger Pro! Bad news – too tired to cook. Good news – fresh pad Thai takeout. I’ll send you pictures or something. We are really excited about sharing FBP with you guys in February!

So may your days be merry and bright, may we remember those who are hurting, and may your life be full this Christmas!

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Comments

  1. I grew up eating rice everyday and I am always on the look out for new rice dishes. Will add on my to do list. Enjoy your holidays.

  2. What a beautiful post. Merry Christmas and a safe New Year to you and yours. Can’t wait to see Food Blogger Pro in 2013.

  3. Lindsay & Bjork – Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Thanks for the great post once again. Good Luck with Food Blogger Pro next year. I love what you’re doing for these precious children…..I’m sure that you’ve changed their lives and they have changed yours in return.

  4. I love this post. Merry Christmas to you as well!

  5. This is so precious, thank you for sharing!

  6. Merry Christmas! The soup looks delicious, and it sounds like you’re having a lovely holiday in the Philippines :)

  7. I loved your narrative along with the pictures of the kids and your dish. What an experience for both of you (you can supply the adjective) and it will be with you for the rest of your lives. Enjoy every day!! Nancy

  8. Jennifer Larson says:

    I really love the picture of just your shepherd’s eyes popping over the heads of the children!

  9. This looks so good and I loved your assistant! Enjoy your time off and I can’t wait for February!

  10. this post is awesome. your soup looks divine. i need a bowl of it now, given it is freezing here! merry christmas and happy holidays!

  11. Awww… that is so sweet and your soup is paired with pandesal. How nice! I’m sure they loved this soup a lot because no matter how insanely hot in here, we Filipinos are soup lovers.

  12. How lovely, for you and for everyone! What a great post. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Sincere best wishes to you all in the coming year.

    P.S. Re the monthly update reports from your husband. Love them! They encourage and inspire bloggers like myself and it is nice to see that things are going well for you and this site. Do keep them coming :)

  13. Your descriptions remind me so much of Honduran life. I’ve been connected with a ministry there called Signs of Love for a few years… the people are so… used to the sweat and the simple. And it’s a wonderful and crazy culture clash every time I get to visit. A gift indeed!

  14. I love reading about your life in the Philippines. Many things sound very similar to Thailand. As much as I love the markets, the smell of just butchered meat gets me every time.
    And this soup looks soo yummy!

  15. Lizabeth K. says:

    Beautiful post, Lindsay. And delicious soup! Merry Christmas to you and Bjork!!

  16. I am a big fan of chicken and wild rice soup and never thought to throw some bacon in..but bacon makes everything better! Great idea. Looks so yummy.

  17. This looks AMAZING!! Can’t wait to try it! I might need to cut it down though from serving 20 since it will just be for my fiancee and I hahah. Hope you and your family have a happy holiday!

  18. oh I love this…what a sweet sweet post…dressed as shephereds love…and this soup does look so good….what sweet neighbors to run after you with the onion :-)

  19. I have always wanted to live abroad. The sights and smells always seem so inviting. Its great that you not only get to live abroad, but you get to help children in need. Such a wonderful use of a year!!

    The soup looks super hearty and delicious. I want a bowl on a cold day! :-)

  20. I LOVE this post! It’s so cool (and inspiring) to hear about your every day life while you’re there – and I just love the idea of the donut in the little pastel bag! AND I love the tidbits about so much kindness from strangers – bring some of that back with you to the states when you return, will you?? :)

  21. Really great post! As it was 14 degrees overnight here on the edge of the Mojave, this soup sounds really good. As a displaced Minnesotan, wild rice soup in any form always sounds good.

  22. I can’t wait for FBP and to try this soup, I’m so hungry now that it actually hurts!

    I hope that even though you’re far from home… that you Bjork had a very Merry Christmas :)!

  23. oh my goodness this looks tasty! Bacon in soup adds such amazing flavor!

  24. Loved this! How wonderful in every way. ;)
    Bless you and enjoy–

  25. As always, a wonderful, moving, inspiring post! And, you made me cry (I know that wasn’t your intention)! Keep up the good work and happy holidays to you and Bjork.

  26. 1) Thank you for your kind email. What a treasure. (p.s. I miss you!)
    2) This recipe helped me use up some leftovers and avoid ordering out. We served 17 people over the course of today and the 11 who ate lunch loved it!
    3) We’re back to school tomorrow. I hope you had a fun and productive “winter” break!

  27. Love seeing little glimpses into your life in the Philippines. Thanks for sharing. Take all the rest time you need! This crazy Internet thing will be here when you get back. :) Can’t wait to see all your hard work in February!

  28. Wow, you found wild rice in Cebu?! Must be from Healthy Options.
    It really is hot here even in December, isn’t it?
    I wish you could go to Batanes or Sagada or even Baguio or Tagaytay and experience some cool weather.

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