I absolutely love soup, especially when it’s cold and dreary outside. Not only does a hearty bowl of soup warm you up from the inside out (corny, but true), but if you’re lucky enough to make it yourself, your entire home will be filled with amazing aromas for much of the day. After returning from the holidays in sunny Florida, the gray, overcast, bitterly cold atmosphere of Atlanta just isn’t doing it for me right now…Yesterday was an ugly, rainy New Year’s Day, and after a late night out, all we did was lay around the house and try to stay warm. I knew from right about 11 o’clock in the morning that I was hankering for some soup, but I just had no idea what to make that would satisfy my craving and not take a ridiculous amount of time or effort. Luckily, some great friends of ours had gifted us with a new Betty Crocker cookbook for Christmas, and I figured that anything Betty could whip up would be easy and delicious. Well, I was right, because I immediately found this amazing recipe in there and I luckily had almost of the ingredients on hand. I still had to run to the store for wild rice and half-and-half, but I’m sure many people would have those two staples in their pantry or refrigerator already. One of the great things about this soup is that you don’t have to let it sit on the stove for hours on end to impart delicious flavors and textures; from start to finish, the entire process took a little over an hour. The end result is a creamy, fragrant, hearty soup that you can easily alter with your protein of choice to make a complete meal.
2 cups celery, sliced
2 cups carrot, chopped
½ large Vidalia onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour [125 calories]
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked wild rice [720 calories]
2 cups water
2 cans (10 ½ ounces each) condensed chicken broth (If you don’t have condensed chicken broth on hand, you can bring 6 cups chicken broth/stock to a boil on the stovetop, then reduce by half and you should end up with ~ 3 cups condensed broth.)
3 cups fat-free half-and-half [480 calories]
2/3 cups slivered almonds [500 calories]
2 tablespoons dried parsley
3 ounces chicken per serving, diced (optional) [110 calories per serving]
Calories per serving: 415 (with chicken) or 305 (without chicken)
In a large saucepot or Dutch oven, spray the cooking spray liberally and heat over medium-high heat. Add the celery, carrots, onion, and bell pepper once the pan is hot, then cook until vegetables are crispy and tender, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.
When vegetables are ready, stir in flour, salt, and pepper. Then stir in cooked wild rice, water, and chicken broth. Raise the heat to high and wait for the soup to boil. When soup is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When soup has simmered for 15 minutes, add the half-and-half, toasted almonds, and parsley. Stir well, and warm through on a low heat. Don’t bring the heat up too much, or the soup will curdle.
Serve the soup with cooked chicken (if desired), and extra parsley on top for flavor.
This recipe is from a fabulous collection you should have at home, The Betty Crocker Cookbook. We followed the recipe pretty much to a tee, but instead of shredding the carrots, we just finely chopped them. We also added the chicken ourselves.