Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Simply calling this recipe Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is almost a disservice, because it’s also a freezer meal that cooks in a crockpot! So it is not just creamy and comforting and delicious, as all Chicken and Wild Soup should be, but it is super easy and convenient too! It’s equally awesome if you want to make it for guests, or have it on a busy weeknight!
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We have been hit hard and early by winter here in Vermont. I think I realized just how hard and how early it came when I calculated that when we adopted our puppy on November 5th he only had three days home with us before the snow started falling, and since then the ground has been covered! That’s more than a month of snow cover already! And it is only mid-December! We did have a two day thaw last week, but it quickly turned to ice and then more snow. Ugh!
I say all this because I am needing all the soup and comfort food I can get to make it through this winter, folks. With no end in sight (I cannot even think about it, it’s like running a marathon, and thinking about the end when you’re only on mile five) I am just going to put my head down and enjoy cozying up with soups and comfort foods to my heart’s content!
I thought I would share this recipe with you this month because I know how hectic this time of year can be, and I thought you would find it useful to have a freezer pack crockpot recipe at the ready for when you won’t have time to prep dinner. It also works great if you have company! We’re having friends over a couple times this month, and I know I am not going to have a ton of time to cook the day they’re coming. Having a freezer pack ready to pop into the crockpot in the morning, means I can stay relaxed and enjoy the holiday season and my friends!!
We’ve got a lot to discuss about this Chicken and Wild Rice Soup so I want to get into the notes. But first, I made this video for you so you can preview what I am about to explain. It makes it much easier to understand!
Steps to Make Freezer Bags for Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
I like to think of making a little soup kit when I prep out this recipe. It’s made in three parts. Two freezer packs, and then the ingredients to finish off the soup (to thicken it and make it creamy.)
Use Chicken Thighs
I like to use chicken thighs for this recipe because it simmers for a long time. Unlike chicken breast, the thigh meat doesn’t become tough and will actually shred apart a little as it simmers over a long period of time.
Brown Chicken and Garlic
Start off by browning the chicken in olive oil on the stovetop. This step will cook the chicken through so that it can safely be frozen and then cooked again. This step also has the added benefit of adding flavor to the soup because the chicken and garlic will brown and develop rich flavor in the process.
Make the Chicken and Vegetable Freezer Pack
- One of Two: In the first freezer pack (yes there are two, I’ll get to that in a moment) you’ll add your chopped onion, carrots and celery. Then on top add the chicken. This is the packet that is going to slowly cook all day long, so it will soften up and develop slow cooked flavor.
- Flavor Note: you’ve gone through the trouble of browning that chicken and garlic, don’t leave it behind in the skillet! Use a silicone spatula to scrape all that goodness out onto the veggies in the bag. The reason I have you scraping the chicken on top of the veggies, is so the oil won’t coat the bag and then get wasted when the veggies and chicken are turned out and the oil is still stuck on the bag.
- Seasoning: To this you’ll add in all your seasonings. Salt (of course) and the spices. I used ground sage, which is a classic compliment to chicken, you’ll love it! And dry thyme. If you don’t have dried sage, that’s okay, you can use fresh chopped rosemary (1 1/2 teaspoon) or you can use 1 1/2 teaspoons Poultry seasoning blend if you happen to have that. If you buy sage and are wondering what else to make with it, try my Slow Cooker Chicken Gumbo or my Shrimp and Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner.
Make the Second Vegetable Freezer Pack with Quicker Cooking Vegetables
- The second freezer pack is made up of the veggies that do not need much cooking time; it’s just bell peppers and green beans. I love adding them in the last hour of cooking so the green beans do not lose their texture, and they stay greener.
- I found that taking the bag of green beans and peppers out of the freezer and setting them into the fridge for the 7 hours that the rest of the soup cooks was enough to partially thaw it, so that it comes up to temp and simmers enough in the hour it has remaining.
- What Kind of Freezer Bags To Use for this soup
I use Ziplock brand resealable freezer bags (gallon size.) I find that the quality of the seal and thickness of the plastic makes a difference in preventing freezer burn, and from allowing the soup kit to take on nasty freezer flavors!
You can freeze the soup packs about one month ahead.
How To Make Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- When you are ready to make the Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, remove both freezer bags out of the freezer, and set the one with the peppers and green beans into the fridge for the day.
- Empty the bag with the chicken, vegetables and spices into a large crockpot. [Aside, I have this one (two of them actually) and I absolutely love it. You can set it for any hour or half hour increment on high or low.}
- And, yes, I should clarify that the bag of frozen veggies and chicken will be a big frozen solid chunk, but that’s normal!
- Just pour in the broth, 7 cups total, with the frozen veggie and chicken block. Note: if you like a thicker soup, you can use 6 cups broth.
- And add in the white wine. This helps to bring out the flavor in the soup and the acidity of it balances the savory aspects.
Slow Cooker Instructions For Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Cover the slow cooker, and set it to 7 hours on low. Or if you are in a hurry, you can set it to three hours on high. Once the time is up, you’ll add in your thickener and the remaining veggie packet.
If you have a slow cooker that only lets you choose 8 hours or 4 hours, that’s totally fine! Just do the following: Set it for either 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high, and then set yourself a reminder for one hour before the time is up.
Why thicken the broth: Because this is a creamy soup, we need to thicken the broth a bit before adding the dairy so that the dairy doesn’t break or curdle. To thicken it easily in the slow cooker, I use a Beurre Manie. Which is a fancy french culinary term for mixing room temperature softened butter with all-purpose flour and making a paste with it. I use this same technique for my Slow Cooker Beef Burgundy Stew.
When to Thicken the Soup: Just before the initial cooking time is up, make the beurre manie. Then once the time is up, open the lid and you just whisk it into the broth until the butter dissolves and the flour mixes into the soup without getting lumpy.
Add in the Quicker Cooking Vegetables: This is also the time to add in the green beans and red peppers.
When the timer goes off again, to finish the soup, whisk in a third cup of sour cream until it is blended into the broth and the soup is creamy.
Can This Soup Be Frozen Again?
The rule of thumb when it comes to re-freezing food is that the ingredients must go through a state change before you freeze it again. So the answer is yes! You can freeze the finished soup. The only caveat is that the texture of the green beans and red peppers will be more soft and the green beans will not be a bright green. The taste and texture will be fine. To heat it up, use the microwave and stir it often. To reheat on the stove top, use low heat and stir often until the soup is steaming hot but not boiling.
This Chicken and Wild Rice Soup Recipe is on a Meal Prep Menu:
One more thing! This recipe is part of my Meal Prep Menu which includes five make ahead dinners! In this plan, I give you the prep list, shopping list and plan to prep on the weekend, so you can have all your weeknight meals ready to go with 20 minutes (or less) of time in the kitchen!
- Monday: Stuffed Shells with Spinach and salad with Lemon Juice Salad Dressing
- Tuesday: Cod Fish Tacos with refried black beans
- Wednesday: Sloppy Joes and this Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower with Cheese
- Thursday: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Friday: Greek Pizza and lemony green beans
To get the full details, print your shopping list and get started, head over to the Meal Prep Menu to check it out!
Thanks so much for reading. If you make this recipe, please make sure you come back and leave a star rating and review! It helps so much!
Here is a delicious creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup recipe that can be conveniently made ahead in freezer packs, and then cooked in a slow cooker!
For Freezer Packs
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound cubed boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2/3 cup wild rice
1 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 cups green beans trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
To Finish The Soup
7 cups chicken broth
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sour cream
Make Freezer Packs
- Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, sprinkle with garlic, and cook, stirring often until cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
- Combine onion, carrot, celery and wild rice in a large resealable freezer bag. Scrape the chicken, oil and garlic mixture into the bag. Add sage, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
- Combine red bell pepper and green beans in a second bag. Seal bags, label and freeze for up to 1 month.
To Cook and Finish the Soup
- Remove bags from freezer. Combine the chicken mixture, broth and wine in slow cooker and set to low for 7 hours. Set the bag with the green beans and peppers in the refrigerator to partially thaw.
- One hour before the timer goes off, combine the softened butter and flour in a small bowl until smooth. Remove the lid from the slow cooker, and stir in the butter mixture. Add the green beans and red peppers to the slow cooker, stir, cover and allow to continue cooking for the remaining hour. Stir in sour cream just before serving.
Note: This recipe can also be cooked on high for four hours total. After the first three hours, add in the butter and flour mixture and green bean and red pepper packet as you would for the slower cooking method.
If your slow cooker only has four and eight hour settings, use those and just set a separate timer to remind yourself to add the thickener and veggies in the last hour.
- Serving Size: 2 cups
- Calories: 331
- Sugar: 5 g
- Fat: 14 g
- Saturated Fat: 6 g
- Carbohydrates: 16 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 23 g