Last week, I went to a local event put on by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in my county. It’s an annual event that my mother and I generally attend together: we get to hear and see wonderful ideas for holiday entertaining and decorating and then get to taste-test some of the recipes that they give to the attendees. The best thing I tasted that night was a delicious Turkey Wild Rice Soup that I vowed to make as soon as I got to the store to get some turkey. Two days ago, after searching the supermarket high and low for a turkey breast, I finally found one (Cajun flavored) and this afternoon I made the soup. Oh. My. Goodness. Friends, I’ve made my share of soups over the years and if I do say so myself, many of them have been amazingly good. But nothing comes close to this soup. I cannot wait for my family to taste it and see if they love it as much as I do! Granted, when you see the list of ingredients you’ll see why it’s so good but I think the recipe could be adapted in several ways to cut calories and adjust for allergies and special diets. It’s perfect for turkey leftovers, which is one reason I wanted to get it out there so people could use it this Thanksgiving. I’m not sure where the recipe came from originally aside from the handout from this event or else I would gladly attribute it. If you are a fan of turkey and soup, you can’t go wrong with this!

Turkey Wild Rice Soup

3 (10.5 ounce) cans condensed chicken broth
2 cups water or 2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
8 slices bacon (could substitute 1/2 cup real bacon bits)
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups half-n-half, cream, or milk of choice
1 1/2 cups cooked, diced turkey meat

Directions (as noted in the recipe; see my changes below)

In a large pot over medium heat, combine chicken broth, water, green onions, and wild rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce hat and simmer until rice is tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Allow to cool and then crumble. Set aside.

When rice is tender, melt the margarine in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour, salt, poultry seasoning and pepper all at once. Cook, stirring until smooth and bubbly. Stir in half-n-half and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir half-n-half mixture into rice mixture. Stir in bacon and turkey. Heat through and serve.

Melanie’s Notes

I’ve never heard of condensed chicken broth; personally, I use the paste stuff that you add to water and so I just used 4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water for the liquid part of the rice cooking. I also used leeks instead of green onions since that’s what I had and also because I love leeks in soup. I used real bacon (bacon bits???!!!) and REAL butter (I don’t think I’ve ever bought margarine) and omitted the salt since the person who told us about the recipe at the event said she felt it really didn’t need it. You can always add salt at the end if you think you need it, so that’s what I did, too. I used a 50/50 mix of half and half and 2% milk for the creamy liquid and a 1.5 pound Cajun flavored turkey breast since that’s all I could find. I pretty much followed the steps of the recipe but dumped it all into a big crockpot so the flavors would have a chance to meld. Since I used twice the amount of meat that the recipe called for and also because I’m cooking for 7 people, I decided to cook more rice and added that to the crockpot, too. Since I added more rice, I also added another cup of water.