Rich, nourishing, and full of flavor, this comforting Ham and Wild Rice Soup recipe is just what you need on those chilly nights when you’re looking for something thoroughly soul-satisfying! It’s also a perfect way to use up leftover ham.
This Ham and Wild Rice Soup recipe can also be made with thick cut bacon, chicken or turkey. But if you’ve just had a whole ham for a special occasion this is the perfect way to make use of leftovers. The smoky bacon pairs perfectly with the nutty wild rice and added to those are mushrooms, veggies, herbs, and cream for a beautifully textured and flavored soup.
What is Wild Rice?
Wild rice is of course a central ingredient in this soup. Wild rice is indigenous to North America and some parts of China, though it isn’t commonly eaten in China. Here in North America it’s rather a delicacy. Chewy on the outside and tender on the inside, it’s makes a great addition to soups, pilafs and casseroles. High in protein, lysine and dietary fiber, wild rice is also very nutritious.
For several Native American tribes, wild rice has traditionally been a sacred component of their culture. As represented below by 19th century Native American women, they would harvest the wild rice by canoeing through the rice plants and using what are called “knockers” to bend the ripe grain heads into the canoe to gently thresh out the rice grains. The Ojibwa, for example, kept the wild rice grains in bags such as the one below made out of cedar bark and on display at the American Museum of Natural History.
Today the biggest producers of wild rice in the U.S. are California and Minnesota. Wild rice is expensive but it’s definitely worth enjoying from time to time as your budget permits. This recipe calls for one cup.
This Ham and Wild Rice Soup is packed full of veggies including carrots, onions, mushrooms and celery that are sauteed in butter for maximum flavor. It’s seasoned with garlic, mustard powder, fresh thyme and bay leaf and the finishing touch is cream. You’ll love the flavor and texture of this wild rice soup!
Ham and Wild Rice Soup Recipe
Let’s get started!
Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat and cook the onion, carrots and celery until softened, about 10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes (this will eliminate the “flour flavor” from the soup).
Stir in the broth, white wine, and add the wild rice, thyme, ground mustard, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the ham, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Stir in the heavy cream and parsley and heat through.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Note: Leftover soup will get thicker as the rice expands. If it’s too thick dilute it with a little broth.
For more delicious soups be sure to try our:
- Minestrone Soup
- Italian Wedding Soup
- Zuppa Toscana
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Tuscan White Bean and Sausage Soup
- Creamy Cabbage and Kielbasa Soup
- Curried Lentil Soup
- Black Eyed Pea Soup
- German Potato Soup
- Caldo Verde
- Hungarian Mushroom Soup
- Ham and Bean Soup
Ham and Wild Rice Soup
- 4 tablespoons butter or oil or combination
- 1 yellow onion , chopped
- 2 carrots , diced
- 3 ribs celery , diced
- 6 ounces mushrooms , brushed clean and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 cups quality chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon chicken broth base or granules (e.g., Better Than Bouillon)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup uncooked wild rice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme
- 2 cups leftover diced smoked ham or diced cooked chicken, turkey, or thick cut bacon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Heat the butter in a soup pot over medium-high heat and cook the onion, carrot and celery until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir to combine, cooking for another 2 minutes. Pour in the broth and wine and stir in the rice, thyme, ground mustard, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the ham, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. Stir in the cream and parsley and heat through. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve immediately.
Originally published March 21, 2015