Wild rice isn’t technically rice.
A seed grass, wild rice grows in cold water rivers and lakes throughout the Great Lakes region, where it became a staple in the Chippewa and Sioux tribes.
The glossy, brownish-black grains contain twice the protein and fiber of brown rice, which dietitians say helps us feel full longer.
The Star’s Creamy Wild Rice and Ham Soup uses nutty-flavored wild rice to up the nutritional value of a creamy soup made with low-fat dairy.
Cooking tip: Wild rice takes about 1 hour to steam, so plan ahead.
Creamy Wild Rice and Ham Soup
Makes 6 (1 cup) servings
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups reduced-sodium, low-fat chicken broth
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice
1/3 cup chopped lean ham, visible fat removed
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
3/4 cup fat-free half-and-half
1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened. Stir in flour; blend well.
Gradually stir in chicken broth. Bring to a boil; stirring constantly. Add wild rice, ham and carrot. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes.
Stir in remaining ingredients and cook over medium low heat 5 to 10 minutes or until heated through.
Per serving, using fat-free half and half: 233 calories (42 percent from fat), 11 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 26 milligrams cholesterol, 23 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 302 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Per serving, using half and half: 253 calories (49 percent from fat), 15 grams total fat (8 grams saturated), 38 milligrams cholesterol, 21 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams protein, 285 milligrams sodium, 2 grams dietary fiber.
Recipe developed exclusively for The Star by professional home economists Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss