Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

An Instant Pot version of the classic creamy chicken & wild rice soup. Laden with mushrooms, carrots & celery, this soup cooks from frozen chicken breasts in under an hour in an electric pressure cooker.

photo of a bowl of chicken & wild rice soup on a plate with a pile of oyster crackers (no oysters were harmed in the making of the crackers)

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Yes, it's been a while. I've been teaching a series of Instant Pot Basics cooking classes for the past two months. We make this recipe in Class 2:  Cooking from Frozen. My students have inspired me to create some new recipes for the Instant Pot that I'll be sharing here now that I'm in between classes for a bit, so stay tuned!

I love using my IP for soup. The ability to sauté the veggies, deglaze the pan, and then add the rest of the ingredients and walk away is heavenly! Because I'm sharing soups with my folks and my girlie as well, I've had days this winter when I've made 3 different soups in a single morning. My days are not All Soup All The Time, though. Mostly I've been spending my time shoveling since Minnesota decided to welcome me in a Big Way. We live on a corner, so after the first 5 or 6 snowfalls we really got the hang of shoveling this place. I even shoveled a racetrack in the backyard since there's so much snow. (You can see video of the dogs running their track on my FB and IG feeds.)

An Instant Pot version of the classic creamy chicken & wild rice soup. Laden with mushrooms, carrots & celery, this soup cooks from frozen chicken breasts in under an hour in an electric pressure cooker.

All of this soup-making means my Freezer Soup Packs are pretty full. While I like my Instant Pot for hands off overnight soup stock making, I found one drawback to using the IP over the stovetop:  size. My holiday turkey back would NOT fit in my 6 qt Instant Pot! I do not need anything larger than a 6 quart pressure cooker for daily/weekly use, so I used my 12 quart stockpot and made 1.5 gallons of turkey stock. It was simmering on the stove while I was outside shoveling, of course. It's not as hands off as using my IP, but I could empty all of the onion skins, carrot peels, celery leaves, and parsnip tops that I'd been collecting. Here's how I make chicken stock.

This recipe is from Kristy Bernardo's book Cooking from Frozen in Your Instant Pot (Amazon affiliate link). Like Kristy's first book, Weeknight Cooking in Your Instant Pot (Amazon affiliate link), the recipes use a variety of fresh herbs and flavors to really punch up the taste and there's quite an assortment of dishes. My favorite from that cookbook is Weeknight Instant Pot Risotto with Peas. I've tried several recipes from this new book and the flavors of all have been spot on. The appearance of some, though? I can't say that I'm impressed with the look of a pork tenderloin cooked from frozen in a pressure cooker. I prefer the blush of pink of perfectly cooked pork like this Roast Pork Loin with Yogurt-Mustard Glaze, and for that I'll remember to thaw pork in the fridge before cooking.

Cooking chicken from frozen, however, is another story. I've been buying bulk packages of chicken and separating into 'empty nest' size amounts before freezing, but choosing fresh frozen packages at the farmer's market or IQF style chicken at the grocery store are other ways you could have small amounts of frozen chicken ready to drop into your pressure cooker and turn into dinner in less than an hour. Kristy has plenty of tips for cooking from frozen meats sprinkled throughout her book--like cutting large roasts into 3-4 pieces before freezing, so that they can easily fit into the IP when you're ready to cook.

I have adapted my recipe slightly from Kristy's original. I like to brighten the flavor of most soups by adding a splash of vinegar or lemon juice at the end, just before serving. For this soup I'm using apple cider vinegar, but if you don't have any on hand feel free to use lemon juice. I use this technique on all sorts of soups--when I fix chicken wonton soup I'll add a splash of rice vinegar, and when I fix my Elegant purée of Black Bean soup--which, come to think of it, would be excellent for an IP makeover--I add a splash of lemon juice.  I learned this technique from Alanna's Greens 'n All Beet Soup. It even works to perk up canned soups!

image of a bowl of creamy chicken & wild rice soup on a plate with a pile of oyster crackers

Note: make sure you use wild rice, not a long grain & wild rice blend. If it's cheaper, feel free to choose "soup grade" wild rice (here's an Amazon affiliate link to the kind of soup grade wild rice I've used). The soup grade is broken into smaller pieces which is just fine for our purposes.

Because I am a visual learner, I made a step by step video showing how to make this soup. It makes it easier to see what I mean by cooking the onions until softened, what I mean by cooking the flour in the butter, and what I mean by scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pot when you first add in the chicken stock. Here's the video:


For more recipes using mushrooms, please see my Mushroom Recipes Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

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