I was first introduced to this chicken and wild rice soup by my dear friend, Jamie, who brought a big pot of it to us once when our house had been hit by the stomach flu. In her family, they call it "Bunny soup"... I think after her grandmother's nickname, who passed the soup recipe to them.
I've strayed a little (or maybe a lot?) from the original with the addition of LOTS of garlic. When I'm sick with a cold, I actually chew raw cloves of garlic, but I realize how disgusting that might sound. And my kids would NEVER. So, this is a good alternative.
It's insanely comforting and, now, it's the only thing I want to eat – like, for every meal – when I'm feeling under the weather. This soup is really more of a rice stew (if that's even a thing) because it's just so hearty.
The most important thing here is that the ingredients be the best you can find.
When you're trying to heal your body, it only makes sense to ensure everything you're putting in is high quality. So just do the best you can with what you can afford!
For this recipe, you can get the Just Bare whole chickens at your grocery store, or, if you have the means, get a locally farm raised chicken from your natural foods store or farmer's market. This would honestly be a great reason to keep a good quality whole chicken in the freezer... so you can just throw it into the crock pot if anyone gets sick.
I also opt for Himalayan salt in this recipe for its minerals. You have to be picky about the Himalayan salt you buy... some of them aren't legit. From what I've read, the brand HimalayaSalt is the best and it's available at most natural grocers.
I don't use it in every recipe because my taste buds prefer kosher salt, but any time I'm trying to be extra conscious of the health benefit of my food, it's the one I go for.
As for the rice, I like a blend of wild and long grain brown rice.
OK! Let's jump to the recipe.
Chicken and wild rice soup
1 Whole organic chicken
1/2 Gallon water
HimalayaSalt brand pink Himalayan sea salt
2 Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Organic Yellow onion, diced
1 Large organic carrot, diced
1 Rib organic celery, diced
4 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Fresh thyme leaves
1 Cup Organic wild rice blend
In a crock pot, add a whole grass-fed organic chicken (including the neck and gizzards) and as much water as you can fit in your pot, to cover the chicken. Salt the chicken and the water well, with Himalayan salt.
Start the crock pot in the morning and allow it to cook all day--even overnight if possible--to allow all the fatty and marrow-y goodness to seep out. After 8-12 hours, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and set it on a cutting board. Strain the cooking liquid into a large bowl with a fine mesh strainer and set it aside to use later on in the recipe. DO NOT SKIM THE FAT. You want it in there.
Pick 75% of the meat off the chicken and shred it, set aside. Save the chicken carcass (with what's left of the meat still on it) in a separate dish to make broth with!
In a large stock pot over medium heat, add 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add onions, carrots, celery, salt and pepper and sauté until the onions are translucent. Add thyme and 3 cloves of garlic, and cook another minute. Add in the wild rice and stir 1-2 minutes to coat the rice with the oil and lightly toast it. Pour in all of the reserved chicken cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook 45 minutes or until the rice is tender. You should have more than enough liquid from the chicken, but if the rice is getting dry as it cooks, just add water. The consistency should be a very thick soup -- more like a rice stew, really.
Add in the shredded chicken and stir. Taste for seasoning and adjust by adding more salt, if necessary.
Grate a clove of garlic in at the end if you want an extra boost of natural antibiotic action (and flavor).