Boundary Waters Wild Rice Soup


Before I moved to Minnesota, the only foods that came to mind when I thought of the state were hotdish, wild rice and blueberries. I am proud to say that since making Minnesota my permanent residence, only the latter 2 have become beloved staples in my kitchen. Of course my Minnesota husband does appreciate the occasional hotdish for supper. Unfortunately I have not mastered the fine art of the hotdish. But I do keep trying.


Every now and then our local newspaper the Star Tribune will poke fun at the hotdish in their Taste section and every now and then they will have a recipe like this that I clip and add to my recipe box. It is the type of recipe you make with care and eventually evolves into “comfort food” for your family.  The recipe is inspired by The Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a protected area in Minnesota that is incredibly special to me even though I have never been there. It is a beautiful place but one does not just drive up there to visit. Permits must be purchased, you need to have some basic wilderness skills and planning is everything when dealing with the mosquitoes in this area. My first trip up I will mostly likely stay nearby, at this lodge. I will most likely “feel out” the are before embarking on a grand adventure in this region. It is so primitive that people who don’t know what they are doing have died. Until I get to go up to the BWCA and experience it for myself, I have this recipe.


Food is obviously important for a lot of reasons but for someone like me who has lived many places and experienced different local cuisines (continentaly anyway), the food I cook can instantly transport me to that location. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough and I can whip up some giant muffalettas. I hope that I can wow them with stories about alligator sightings in Alabama while they bite into the cheesy ham and olive delicacies!

Meanwhile, back in Minnesota, we will be cultivating our kids’ heritage and eating this soup. The soup is delicious as made but I did find it to be a little too rich. Next time I will cut the amount of butter used in half if not more.


Serves 6.

Note: To toast almonds, spread nuts in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven until almonds are lightly browned and fragrant, about 7 to 10 minutes. From “The Marshall Field’s Cookbook.”

• 6 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1 c. diced yellow onion

• 1 small leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed well, and thinly sliced

• 11/2 c. sliced button mushrooms

• 3/4 c. diced carrots

• 1/2 c. flour

• 6 c. chicken broth

• 11/2 c. cooked wild rice

• 1/2 roasted chicken, skin and bones removed and meat chopped (1 to 11/2 c.)

• 1 c. heavy cream

• 5 tbsp. dry sherry

• 2 tsp. salt

• 11/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 2 tbsp. freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley

• 1 tsp. freshly chopped thyme leaves

• 2 tbsp. slivered almonds, toasted, for garnish


In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add leek, mushrooms and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add flour and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Whisk in chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then decrease heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Add wild rice, chicken, cream, sherry, salt, pepper, parsley and thyme and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Ladle into bowls, garnish with almonds and serve hot.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 410 Fat 27 g Sodium 1,700 mg

Carbohydrates 28 g Saturated fat 16 g Calcium 85 mg

Protein 14 g Cholesterol 95 mg Dietary fiber 4 g

Diabetic exchanges: 1 bread/starch, 1 other carb, 1 1/2 medium-fat meat, 4 fat.