Thursday, September 1, 2011

Slow Cooker Wild and Brown Rice Soup

Yep, we like ours so thick it looks like oatmeal!

I have been back in school since January, but this semester is the first time I have had a class actually on campus as opposed to online. Even with that class meeting only twice a week (for 2 1/2 hours a pop), it zaps my ambition, and even though I am a firm believer in not using time as an excuse for not serving my family healthful meals, I am having a hard time feeling like getting in the kitchen after class some days. I got a great new slow cooker several months ago and had been using it quite a bit (check out the Slow Cooker Recipes link over on the right hand side of the page), but it's time to get it out again. Now I swear I am in no hurry for winter, but I do enjoy fall very much, and I love breaking out the stews, soups and chili recipes when the weather turns cooler, and I especially love using my slow cooker for them.

Here is my reasoning behind leaving the brown rice uncooked but using cooked wild rice in the recipe: wild rice is not really a rice, it is the grain of an aquatic plant/grass. When it's cooking, it most definitely smells like grass, and I would not want that flavor in my soup. I did find a quick cooking variety at my grocery store that has already had some of that rawness cooked out of it, and you can also buy it canned (yes, really!). I love wild rice in soups and side dishes, so I often cook up a large batch and freeze some in 1 or 2 cup portions, saving me time when I need it another day. I leave the brown rice uncooked in this recipe so that as it cooks, the starch it releases helps thicken the soup and gives it a creamy texture. I like to keep this fairly light (I have a traditional chicken and wild rice soup recipe that calls for a stick of butter, 3/4 cup flour and 2 cups of half and half--my arteries clogged just typing that out!), and since it gets a nice, creamy consistency during the cooking process, I just use milk, though half and half or even fat free half and half could be used too. Today I used unsweetened almond milk.

There are opportunities for variation in this recipe. It's really easy to divide or multiply amounts if you need more or less. I love mine really thick, but if it's too thick for you, add more stock as needed. You'll find that if you keep it in the slow cooker for awhile, such as during a gathering, you might have to periodically add a bit more liquid. If you aren't a wild rice fan or can't find it, skip it and add a bit more brown rice. We don't eat pork, but you could substitute cooked ham for the chicken (a popular addition to many wild rice soup recipes), and if you are not a meat-eater, the soup is still wonderfully filling without either!

Slow Cooker Wild and Brown Rice Soup

2 cups cooked chicken, chopped/shredded
2 cups wild rice, cooked and rinsed
2/3 cup brown rice, uncooked
3 carrots, sliced (abut 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
6 + cups homemade vegetable stock (or any vegetable or chicken stock)
1 cup milk or half and half
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1 tsp dried) 
1/2 tsp dry mustard (if you don't have dry, just skip it--do not use prepared mustard!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: sliced/slivered almonds for garnishing

Directions: Place all ingredients except milk/half and half in slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Ten minutes before turning slow cooker off, add milk/half and half and stir well, replace lid and heat for remaining ten minutes. Check for seasoning and serve, garnishing each bowl with sliced/slivered almonds if desired.


Brown rice (organic): $3.29/2 lb package, used 1/6 = $.55
Wild rice: $3.99/12 oz package uncooked, used 1/4 =$1.00
Chicken (no antibiotics, veg-fed): On sale for $4.99/lb boneless/skinless thighs, used 1/2 = $2.50
Celery (organic): $.99 after sale and coupon, used 1/4 = $.25
Carrots (organic): $1.98/2 lb pkg, used 1/5 = $.40
Onion (farmers market): $.50 each large onion, used 1/2 = $.25
Almonds: $3.99/10 oz bag, used 1/6 of bag = $.67
Almond milk: $3.29/half gallon, used 1/8 = $.41
Vegetable stock: Homemade Freebie

Total Cost: $6.03
Six Servings: $1.00 per serving


  1. Found you at Mehreen's. This looks delicious! I would love to see you come link it up at Freestyle Friday at Happy Hour Projects, the party's on until tomorrow night!
    Happy to be your newest follower ~ Adrianne

  2. Whoops--sorry about that! Somehow the "milk or half and half" got left off, and all it said was "1 cup." :)