I literally CRAVE this amazing, hearty soup from Panera when the weather begins to chill.... this is the closest recipe I have found to theirs. The best part is, it's ready in less than an hour!! I've found that the reviews are right and have lessened the amount of flour; originally 1 cup; just use 1/2 or a bit more depending on how thick you like your soup (Panera's is VERY thick).
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 2 chicken breast halves (cooked, boneless and cubed)
- 1 (6 ounce) package long grain and wild rice blend, quick cooking version (You will use the seasoning packet. I used Uncle Bens roasted chicken flavor)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3⁄4 cup butter (12 tbsp. or a stick and a half)
- 1 cup carrot, diced
- 1 cup celery, diced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 3 cups light cream (can lighten by substituting part or all of the cream with fat-free evaporated milk, or half-and-half)
- Open rice, pull out seasoning packet and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine pepper and flour. Set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, combine broth and chicken. Bring to a boil, then stir in rice. Cover and remove from heat.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add carrots, celery and onion and saute for 5 minutes. Stir in contents of seasoning packet, and continue cooking vegetables until softened, about 5 minutes more. Add seasoned flour gradually while constantly stirring, to form a roux. Saute roux for 3-4 minutes to cook out raw flour taste.
- Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until thickened, 5 minutes.
- Stir cream mixture into broth and rice. Cook over medium heat until heated through and rice is done,15-20 minutes.
- Alternatively, for those who cannot get the quick-cooking version of the rice, I have put the broth on to boil and cooked the 25-minute version of long grain and wild rice blend according to the directions, while sauteeing the veggies in the butter. I tend to cook the veggies longer this way, and I like them quite soft. I then follow the rest of the directions above, adding the rice/broth to the cream mixture. I've also used fat-free half and half with no appreciable difference in flavor. Enjoy!