Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wild Rice and Cheddar Chowder

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 pound bacon -- chopped
1 onion -- diced
2 cloves garlic -- minced
2 cups chopped mushrooms
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary -- (or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup diced potatoes
1/2 cup wild rice -- rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups 1% low-fat milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese -- white cheddar, preferred
salt and pepper -- to taste
2 cups cooked chicken -- optional

In a large stock pot, bring olive oil to medium-high heat. Add bacon. Cook the chopped bacon until crispy and rendered-remove the bacon from the grease with a slotted spoon and place in a small bowl, set aside. Turn the heat down to medium-low.

Add onions to the bacon grease and saute until the onions just begin to brown- about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and the mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms just begin to brown, about another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add about 1 cup of the chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any browned bits. Add the remaining broth, rosemary, thyme, potatoes, and wild rice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for another 30-50 minutes, or until the wild rice has split its skins and is tender.

In a small bowl, combine the flour with the milk, whisking to combine. Gently, stir the milk mixture into the soup and return to a simmer. Stir in the cheddar cheese, salt and pepper to taste, and cooked chicken if using. Stir well until all the cheese is Incorporated into the broth. Serve immediately, or hold in the pot, covered, on low until ready to serve.

Per Serving: 372 Calories; 19g Fat (47.3% calories from fat); 29g Protein; 19g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 67mg Cholesterol; 999mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Non-Fat Milk; 2 1/2 Fat.

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