Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup–Victory!!!

My all-time favorite soup is Cream of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Panera. I could eat it every day and be happy. However I cannot AFFORD to eat it every day and have my wallet be happy. So I went on a soup mission to recreate it. The only creamy soup I have ever made was baked potato soup and that was different–it was cheese. This soup, I knew, would need a roux. My very first roux. So I went for it!

I found a recipe online and used the basic structure for a creamy soup and then edited it to make it more Panera like.
I started with sautéing some vegetables–1 carrot, 1/2 white onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 stalk celery, and 1/2 small white potato. All veggies were cut very small so they would cook in the pan:

While the vegetables were hanging out, I boiled 5 cups chicken stock with a rotisserie chicken, cubed:

I also added a package of wild rice, sans seasoning. All the recipes I looked at suggested putting the seasoning in with roux. I couldnt figure out why, but I went with it. I added the rice and vegetables and took the pot off the heat because I needed my full attention for what came next:

The roux. It seemed simple (a lot of butter, flour, and some sort of dairy product (heavy cream, half and half, milk). So, I got about 7 tablespoons of whipped butter (yeah, I seriously tried to save calories in the butter-HAHA!) melting in the pan and then added the seasoning from the rice.

Once it was hot I started adding in the flour, about a teaspoon at a time. I ended up adding about 1/3 up of flour. Then it was time for the cream! I went with half and half–about cups worth. This is what I was nervous about, because logic told me the cream would scald when added to the hot pan. I turned the pan down to low and started with a Tablespoon. I kept whipping and adding the cream until it became think (and not burned!!!)

Once it was thickened I added to the rice/chicken stock along with some salt and pepper and let boil away! It is sooo delicious. In my opinion, freshly baked bread is a requirement!

There is nothing healthy about this recipe, but there is everything delicious about it!!

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