I really love using wild rice in soup. It has a distinct flavor which makes the whole soup delicious, especially with the addition of bacon. What can’t be made better with bacon? This wild rice soup with bacon and spinach is great for the winter months, and you can change up the vegetables however you like.
How to Serve Wild Rice Soup
This soup is best served right away, as the rice tends to soak up the liquid if it sits too long. If you do have leftovers, this still tastes fine if it’s been refrigerated and reheated, but you might find it’s more like ‘wild rice stew’ than soup. You can add a little more chicken stock to thin it out if desired.
I feel this soup is filling enough to be a substantial meal on its own, but you could serve it with a small salad or with bread if you like.
Additions and Substitutions
You can change up the vegetables to suit your preferences or just use whatever you have lying around, and you could use vegetable stock instead of chicken if you prefer. You could also adjust the amount of heavy cream, adding one or two tablespoons more if you want the soup to be creamier.
How to Make Wild Rice Soup
Set a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat and add the bacon. That’s right; you don’t need to preheat first. This way the bacon fat renders better, and we want it for sautéing the vegetables later. I normally just jam all the bacon in at once but this results in some overlap; you can do two batches if you prefer. Cook until crispy, turning once, which will take around 6-8 minutes. Transfer bacon to a cutting board and, when cool enough to handle, chop and set aside. Do not wipe out the pot!
Add the butter to the pot and swirl until it’s melted. Add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring now and then, until the onion is translucent and the vegetables start softening, about 5-8 minutes.
Add Vermouth, Chicken Stock and Wild Rice
Add the vermouth and cook for about a minute, using a spoon to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and wild rice and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Cook Wild Rice
Once the water is boiling, cover the pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until rice is cooked through. I like to stir once or twice, especially towards the end, to make sure nothing is sticking and to check how the rice is going. You’ll know the rice is done when some of the kernels have burst open. It will be a little chewy, as wild rice doesn’t get as soft as regular rice.
Add the spinach and cover once again. Cook for just a minute or two, until the spinach is wilted.
Add Final Ingredients, Season and Serve
Stir in the cream, parsley and reserved bacon and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.
Wild Rice Soup with Bacon and Spinach
- 8 strips bacon
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 1 stalk celery diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup vermouth or dry white wine
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup wild rice blend
- 3 cups baby spinach roughly chopped (about 3oz)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Set a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy, turning once, about 6-8 minutes (cook in batches if necessary). Remove from pot, chop and set aside.
- Add the butter and, when melted, add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring now and then, until the onions are translucent and vegetables are beginning to soften, about 5-8 minutes.
- Add vermouth and cook for about a minute, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock and wild rice and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until rice is tender.
- Add spinach and cover. Cook for a minute or two, just until spinach is wilted. Stir in cream, parsley and reserved bacon, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
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