4 tablespoons butter
3 large carrots, cut into bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
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1 medium onion, diced
1 teaspoon ground celery seed
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
3 packages (8 ounces each) each cream cheese (low-fat or nonfat work fine), softened
1 can (49.5-ounce) chicken broth
3 boxes (6 ounces each) boxes long-grain/wild rice blend (such as Uncle Ben's), prepared according to package directions
1 pound cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
˝ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
Melt the butter in a large soup pot, add the carrots and onion, and sauté until the onion is softened, 5-7 minutes. Add the celery seed, garlic and cream cheese; stir constantly until the cream cheese is melted and smooth.
Slowly add the broth, stirring to incorporate the cream cheese; stir until all the broth is added and there are no lumps of cream cheese. Add the rice, chicken and mushrooms; simmer 20 minutes to blend the flavors. If the soup seems too thick, add milk or water as desired. Serve hot.
Serves eight to 10.
Cook's notes: You can make the rice and cook the chicken one day ahead. Leftover turkey also works in this recipe.
Julie Dahlberg, Grayslake, in "Soup Night" by Maggie Stuckey (Storey, 2013)