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Chicken “Wild Rice” Soup
Prep Time: 20 minutes
cook time: 1½ hours
yield: 10 servings
In this recipe, I’ve replaced the toothsome texture of wild rice, a classic component of chicken soup, with chicken cracklings and fried meat bits. They provide great flavor and add a satisfying texture: I call them “crunchy rice.” I often use the leftover meat from my Herb Roasted Chicken to make this soup.
½ cup unsalted butter cup diced onions
½ cup diced celery
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
6 cups chicken bone broth, home made or store-bought
1 package cream cheese , softened
2 cups cooked cubed chicken
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper chicken cracklings pound chicken skin and fat
1 teaspoon ghee
2 tablespoons finely diced onions
1 small clove garlic, smashed to a paste or minced
1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves or other herb of choice, such as thyme
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound meat, diced, for crunchy “rice”
In a stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the onions and celery and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 more minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
Add the softened cream cheese and whisk until it is fully incorporated and heated through.
Add the chicken and seasonings and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
While the soup is simmering, make the crunchy “rice,” starting with the cracklings: Chop the chicken skin into ¼-inch pieces and pat them completely dry with paper towels. Heat the ghee in a medium-sized cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken skin pieces, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for
12 to 15 minutes, until there is a layer of liquid fat in the pan.
Meanwhile, fry the meat in a large cast-iron skillet until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the meat from the skillet and set aside until you’re ready to serve the soup; reserve the meat fat for another use.
After the chicken fat has cooked on low for 12 to 15 minutes, bring the heat back up to medium and uncover the skillet. Cook the chicken skin pieces for an additional 15 minutes, stirring often, until they start to curl up and there is a lot of fat in the pan. Carefully pour the chicken skin pieces and liquid fat through a colander into a jar. Save the chicken fat for later use— it’s a great ketogenic fat—and put the drained chicken skin pieces back in the skillet.
To the skillet, add the onions, garlic, and sage and cook over medium heat for another 15 minutes, stirring, until the cracklings are golden brown and crispy. Remove the skillet from the heat. Season the cracklings with the salt and pepper.
Ladle the soup into bowls and stir most of the crunchy “rice”—the prepared cracklings and crispy meat—into the soup. Sprinkle the remaining “rice” on top as a garnish. busy family tip:
The cracklings can be made up to 3 days ahead. Once cool, store in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to add them to the soup, reheat the cracklings in a skillet over medium heat for a few minutes or until warmed through.