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Cream of Wild Rice Soup

1/3 c. wild rice
1 c. water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter
1 c. finely chopped onion
1 c. finely sliced celery
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. flour
5 c. milk
Optional garnish: A few finely sliced scallions


Rinse rice in sieve with cold running water. Put rice, water and 1/2 teaspoon salt into 2 quart saucepan and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30-40 minutes until rice is tender and the kernels begin to pop. Melt butter in heavy 4 quart pot or Dutch oven. Add onion and celery. Cover and cook gently about 5 minutes until vegetables are soft. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and flour. Remove from heat and add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time at first, stirring until flour is well blended. Return pot to low heat and cook, stirring constantly until soup thickens. Add rice and simmer for a few minutes to heat through. Serve in bowls or cups. This soup is best when made 6 to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated for flavors to blend. *Important: Reheat slowly at low temperature, stirring often. If soup has thickened too much, it can be diluted with a little milk.


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