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.
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.
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Cooking tip: Wild rice takes about 1 hour to steam, so plan ahead.
Creamy Wild Rice and Ham Soup
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.
Yield: 6 (1-cup) servings.