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Nutty wild rice boosts flavor and nutrition in this creamy soup


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 Kansas City 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.

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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 g total fat (6 g saturated), 26 mg cholesterol, 23 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 302 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber.

Per serving, using half and half: 253 calories (49 percent from fat), 15 g total fat (8 g saturated), 38 mg cholesterol, 21 g carbohydrates, 13 g protein, 285 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber.


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