Anyone from the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area will be familiar with my favorite childhood grocery store chain, Byerly’s. Growing up, I loved to eat this soup more than… well, any other soup. But I can’t get anything like it in DC, so I’ve tried to recreate it myself. Of course, I did all this before Byerly’s so kindly posted their recipe on the internet, so it’s not exactly right, but I came awfully close. Either way, it’s pretty delicious.
Byerly’s Wild Rice Soup
Wild rice almost an hour to cook, so I buy fully cooked vacuum packs of wild rice from Trader Joe’s. I don’t taste a difference in flavor or texture; it’s perfectly cooked out of the bag.
If you can’t get your hands on a aged white cheddar, omit the cheese. I used an English cheddar aged 2 years and it has a rich, nutty flavor that adds a nice depth to the soup. Regular supermarket cheddar tastes radically different and won’t work.
- 6 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 5 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 4 cups cooked wild rice
- 1 cup carrots, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 1/2 cups celery, chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 8 oz ham steak, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 cup grated aged white cheddar
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp herbs de provence
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. In a large pot or dutch oven, melt butter over low heat. Once the bubbles have subsided, sprinkle in flour and whisk to make a roux. Continue whisking until roux is golden brown. Slowly add the chicken stock and continue whisking to get out any lumps. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
2. Lower the heat and bring soup to a simmer. Add milk, carrots, celery, ham, rice, and herbs. Simmer 10-15 minutes, until the carrots and celery are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. (The cheese and ham are pretty salty, so you may not need any additional sodium.)
3. Remove bay leaf and serve with a sprinkling of sliced almonds. This soup also reheats and freezes well.
Makes about 6 generous servings.