Soon after we got married, Mark and I were talking about food, and Mark told me that he “doesn’t like soup.” What? Who doesn’t like soup? Soup is so great! Warm and comforting, it’s perfect during cold weather. What’s not to like? Turns out, what he meant is that he doesn’t like thin soups. Ok, I can kind of get that. Unless it’s a first course or a snack, I want a full bodied soup with lots of stuff in it. That, friends, is exactly what creamy mushroom soup with chicken and brown rice delivers.
There are two ingredients that need to be prepped ahead of time for this recipe.
First, you need some leftover cooked chicken. I used a rotisserie chicken. Second, you’ll need to cook some brown rice. I love brown rice in this dish because it adds a really nice chewy texture and a nutty flavor to the soup. I put the brown rice in my rice cooker about an hour before I’m ready to start making the rest of the mushroom soup. I make two cups of cooked rice. I add one cup to the soup directly and then put rice on the table so that people can add more if they wish.
Mushrooms for Mushroom Soup
“Carli, does it really matter what variety of mushrooms I use for this mushroom soup?” Good question. No. The recipe calls for cremini mushrooms because I like them and they are easy to get in my area. You can absolutely use a button mushroom, or anything that looks good at the store. No problem. Also, hot tip, if your grocery store has loose, bulk mushrooms, they are usually half the price per pound as their pre-packaged counterparts.
How to Clean Mushrooms
Don’t submerge in or rinse mushrooms with water. They are little sponges and will get waterlogged. This will make them steam during cooking instead of browning. Instead, take a damp cloth or paper towel and wipe your mushrooms clean.
Tips and Tricks
Soup is fun to make, and here are some tips to make it go as smoothly as possible.
- Chop your mushrooms small, and cook them until browned. This will give you maximum flavor and a pleasing texture.
- Layer your seasoning. Salt lightly after every layer. This will build a better flavor at the end of cooking. Also, I know it’s counterintuitive, but you will use less salt if you do this instead of doing all of the seasoning at the end. Also, taste often. When you add the cream, the fat will dull your seasoning, so definitely taste and re-season after this step.
- Acid is your friend. This is the secret sauce in a great mushroom soup, and really in a lot of cooking. The white wine vinegar and the lemon juice will brighten up the soup and make the seasoning pop. Just taste often so you don’t add too much.
I’m pleased to say that over the course of our marriage, Mark has learned to like soup. In fact, when he came up from work yesterday and saw me making this one, his reaction was “yessssssss!” Also, I should mention that we are not mushroom lovers normally. We’ve been building our relationship with the little fungi over the last year, but they are not normally our go-to. However, we love this soup. If you too are building your relationship with mushrooms, creamy mushroom soup with chicken and brown rice is a great place to start.
Creamy Mushroom Soup with Chicken and Brown Rice
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 oz cremini mushrooms, finely chopped You can use any mushroom you'd like.
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 4 cups unsalted chicken stock 1 box
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt You will need more to taste, but this is a good starting point. Be sure to taste for salt after you add the cream.
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Plus more to taste.
- 1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere's No Salt seasoning Or your favorite seasoning blend with a kick.
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream Again, you can add more if you'd like, but start here. Half and half would also work.
- 1 cup brown rice, previously cooked
- 1 and 1/2 cup cooked chicken, chopped Rotisserie chicken is great here.
- fresh lemon juice To taste, about 1 to 2 teaspoons.
- freshly chopped Italian parsley, to garnish Optional.
- Heat a 6 quart enameled Dutch oven, or other large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil and the chopped mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are browned. They will cook down a lot. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Add the diced onion. Cook until the onions are translucent. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Add the minced garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine vinegar and scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a spatula or whisk.
- Stir 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons) of unsalted butter into the veggies, just until it melts.
- Add 1/4 cup of flour, and stir for about 1 minute. This forms the roux, which will thicken the soup slightly.
- Add a little bit of chicken stock and whisk the pot, scraping brown bits off the bottom. This will thicken quickly. Add more stock, whisk, and then add the rest of the stock and whisk until combined.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Tony Chachere's. You will need to season this soup several times, because the cream will mute this first full seasoning. The flavors are more rich and complex if you season as you go instead of just trying to season at the end. Also, you'll use less salt, I promise.
- After the soup comes to a low boil, turn down the heat to medium low and add the cream. How much to use is up to you, but I would start with 3/4 of a cup. That was about right for me.
- Add the brown rice and the chicken.
- Bring the soup back to a simmer. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary.
- Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice if you'd like.
- Garnish with chopped parsley.
- Serve with toast and salted butter.
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