It’s that taste of Minnesota that I still crave

My family and I moved back here to Arkansas just over seven years ago. Just as there were some things from the south we craved while living up there (Sonic didn’t exist in Minnesota until a couple of years ago, and I’m sure most of the residents up there have never heard of Whattaburger!) there are equal if not more places found in the great white north that we wish were down here.

Eateries like Famous Dave’s and Chipotle were places we begged for, and got. But, we’re still holding out for Noodles & Co. and Caribou to make it’s way south of the Mason-Dixon line. I’m always sure to stock up on my Leinenkugel’s when up there, because, really, a little Berry Weiss found at Kroger just doesn’t cut it for me. I’m still waiting for the day IKEA, Cub or Byerly’s opens a Little Rock store.

On the flip-side, some people in the north think all gumbo consists of a tomato-based roux and celery. Up there, we consistently had to tell cashiers what okra was and how to spell it when we bought it (albeit quite unfresh).

Down here, it’s near-impossible to find a good chicken and wild rice soup that tastes just like I remember eating at Timberlodge. I gave up on the hunt, finally, and opted to make it myself.  I admittedly adapted a recipe I found online some, but pretty much nailed the flavor I was missing on the head. It was a hit in my home tonight and will most likely be for years to come.


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  1. Cook wild rice per instructions on package. This could take up to 45 minutes to cook. While rice is cooking, prepare and cook cubed chicken.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and carrots and saute for 5 minutes. Then add the flour and stir well. Gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly, until all has been added. Bring just to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer.
  3. Next, add the cooked rice, chicken, salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, ground black pepper, almonds and sherry. Allow to heat through, then pour in the half-and-half. Let simmer for 1 to 2 hours. (Note: Do not boil or your roux will break.)

About gespurr

Emily was born in Southwestern Louisiana and has moved over 20 times in her life through nine different states. Most of her life was spent in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where she met her husband and had her only child. Both she and her husband are also only children. She graduated from Stillwater (MN) High School in 1992 and from the University of Wisconsin in 1997 with a BS in Journalism. Three years later, she met her husband, George, and they married in 2002. Their daughter, Kathryn, was born early in 2004. She relocated with her family back to Arkansas in 2005 after being away for 30 years. She currently works as a customer service representative for an insurance company and lives in North Little Rock. When not taking care of her daughter she is either cooking, working, cleaning house, sewing, gardening, knitting, crocheting hiking, traveling or spending time with her husband.

Posted on September 26, 2012, in Miscellaneous, Recipes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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