2 T olive oil
2 c quartered and sliced fresh baby bella mushrooms
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1/3 c flour
4 c hot water
4 t Vegetarian Better Than Bouillon
2 c cubed cooked chicken breast
1 8.8-oz pkg ready-to-serve roasted chicken-flavored rice
2 c half-and-half
½ t black pepper
1 In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add vegetables; cook and stir about 10 minutes until celery and onion are tender, mushrooms have colored and released liquid, and carrots are crisp-tender. Sprinkle flour over cooked vegetables, stir and cook for 1–2 minutes until flour absorbs liquid in pot and changes color.
2 In a large liquid measuring cup, combine water and bouillon, stir into soup pot until flour clumps dissolve, about 5 minutes. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally; cook and stir until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add chicken, rice, half-and-half and black pepper; heat through, stirring occasionally (do not allow to boil).
What about a soup makes it a “lunch-box soup”? I have no idea. I tried looking it up on the Internet and nobody seems to know. Is it that you can make it fast? Is it that it is hearty enough to get you from lunch to dinner? It is that you can make it in bulk for several lunches or groups of people? Is it that you can use leftovers from last night’s dinner? I still have no idea. I’m renaming this soup Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup with Mushrooms, and it is a really tasty soup. Chicken and Mushrooms are fabulous together, and they are fabulous in this soup. To prep for this recipe, I cut all the vegetables into a large dice, and I cooked 2 free-range organic boneless skinless chicken breast halves (drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper) in a foil packet in a 400° oven for around 30 minutes. When it came to the flour and broth step, I diverged from the original recipe’s directions of mixing the two then adding them to the soup pot. I didn’t understand how that method would work out, so I used the one I know and trust that I wrote above. I was weirded out by the ready-to-serve rice. I’d never used it before and it looked gross coming out of its plastic package, but it was just fine in this soup. And I got nervous at the end when adding an entire pint of half-and-half. I was sure 2 whole cups was going to dilute the flavor too much and I was so excited about the chicken and mushroom flavors, but the pint made the soup wonderfully creamy and still flavorful. I guess it was a roller coaster ride of emotions while making this soup, but it was worth it. I’d go on that ride again and make it next week if I didn’t have 2 new soups already scheduled. Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup with Mushrooms (aka Lunch-Box Chicken Soup, aka Soup #25 out of 50) was a great halfway point!
If you’d like to see the original recipes my posts are based on or read Taste of Home’s article that inspired my 50 Soups in 25 Weeks blogging, go to: https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/soups-to-keep-you-warm-this-fall/.