So being that we have a few feet of snow on the ground, we finally decided to make good on a promise to our staff of finding a good Homemade cream of chicken with wild rice….good like to make you curl up into a ball in the corner and nap good. 

Here’s our process. As usual, we didn’t write things down and guestimated on times (Shocker I know huh?). 

Large pot, medium heat with vegi oil. 

Brown the 6 chicken thighs salted each side. 10 minutes per side lid on. 

Remove from pot. 

Deglaze with a splash or two of dry chardonnay. 

Add: 2 cups diced carrots, 2 cups diced celery, and 3 cups shalots/red onions. 

Sitr frequently x 12 minutes melting all the stuff together. 

Add 6 cloves of diced garlic. Mix every minute – total 3 minutes. 

Add 3 cups of rinsed wild rice (from Cleveland’s West Side Market), all 6 chicken thighs back in (chicken au jus from resting too), 2 cups rough chopped wild mushrooms, couple of sprigs of thyme, 2 bay leaves. Boiling water to cover +3 more cups. Add another cup of chardonnay. Have a very large swig of chardonnay yourself (remember, rice will soak up lotsa liquids). Bring to a boil on high heat. Mix. 

Bring heat back down to medium low. Stir every 15 minutes. Total 90 minutes. 

Last 10 minutes, add a 12oz can of cream of corn and a 12 oz can of bicolored corn. Mix. 

When mixing, try to break up chicken meat from thighs. Remove the skin if you can. 

Add more salt if you need. 


Homemade cream of chicken corn with wild rice and mushrooms

It was good…Real good….Wear a sarong to dinner good. 

Post lunch with just bowls of this soup, I think our staff took a little nap in the corner together…dreaming of exotic foods.

After our siesta, we thought about how we could make this better. Maybe more garlic, maybe sourdough bread bowl….And that’s what tripped our memory for Panera Bread. Checking out Panera Bread’s menu, they list their “Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice: Long grain and wild rice, celery, onion, carrot and diced chicken simmered in chicken broth embellished with cream and select herbs”. It’s on like Donkey Kong. Off we went to rampage our local Panera Bread for a cross comparison. 

We got a few sourdough breadbowls to help both sides. 

And in this corner: Panera Bread cream of chicken & wild rice

QuarryLaneFarms Cream of chicken corn with wild rice and mushrooms

Our thoughts/opinions on Panera Bread: 

WAY too much cream. It was like tasting chicken soup with a ton of cream added. Heavy and lactose ridiculous. 

WAY Too much garlic. Masks flavors of real chicken 

Can’t see celery (if there is any). 

Onions melted nicely. 

Carrots were mushy. 

Wild rice was mush. 

Chicken lacked realism because of the small cubes (processed? Real?). 

Sourdough bread bowl – bonus points. 

Also what didn’t help is that right before we ordered, we witnessed the Panera Bread staff toothpaste squeeze a large 3 gallon commercial bag of this soup into the soup warmer. Nothing says soup like “from a large commercial bag”. Squirt-squirt. 

Our thoughts/opinions on QuarryLaneFarms (we maybe partial): 

Awesome flavors esp with intensity of chicken. 

Bicolored corn still has that pop when you bite into them and can still taste the sweetness of the kernels. 

Chicken was real chicken. We didn’t do a good job in picking out cartilage or the chicken skin. Oops. 

Needs a few more cloves of garlic. Total 6-8 be good since we made enough for an army. 

shalots produced a rich smooth flavor compared to all onion mis en place. 

Cleveland’s West Side Market continues to amaze us with their Wild Rice selections (#HappyinCLE). 

Wild rice made this creamier just from the starch on the rice itself. 

Easy ingredient list with stuff that is readily available in most refrigerators. 

Only 1 small 12 oz can of creamed corn was added to this. No heavy cream. NONE. 

Browning the chicken and melting the mis en place, with the chardonnay deglaze made the flavors really come out (thanks Cooks Illustrated). 

Sourdough bread bowl – bonus points. 

Head-to-head match up: PB (L) and QLF (R)

QLF Verdict: Homemade soup x10 better! 

Moral: Make your own soup. Even Food Network encourages this. It doesn’t take that long and you will be surprised on the awesome factor.

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