The Queen's Soup

One can only imagine the extravagance of the carnival balls held at the Degas House. It is obvious from this recipe that elegant foods were a major part of these functions. I can envision a large gilded terrine on the Degas table filled with this soup honoring a Queen of Mardi Gras.


  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned
  • 1 gallon chicken stock (see recipe)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 10 whole peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1/2 cup long grain converted rice
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup minced carrots
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

In a large cast iron dutch oven, combine stock with bay leaves, 1 tablespoon of thyme, 1 tablespoon of sage, onion, sliced carrot, celery, garlic and peppercorns. Bring mixture to a rolling boil, reduce to simmer and cook 30 minutes. Strain the flavor ingredients from the stock and discard vegetables. Return approximately 3 ½ quarts of liquid to the pot and bring to a low boil. Poach chicken breasts in hot stock for 10-15 minutes or until thoroughly cooked. Remove, allow to cool and dice into 1/4-inch cubes. Set aside. Add wild rice to the simmering stock and cook 30 minutes. Add white rice and cook 15 additional minutes or until rice is tender. The rice will act as a thickening agent for the soup. In a separate sauce pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add flour and, stirring constantly, cook until white roux is achieved (see recipe). Do not brown. Add minced carrots, yellow bell pepper, remaining thyme, sage and chives. Cook 3-5 minutes then add the roux mixture to the stock, stirring constantly to completely incorporate. Add heavy whipping cream, bring to a low boil and season the soup to taste using salt and pepper. Add diced chicken to the soup and cook 2 additional minutes. Additional stock or water may be needed to retain soup-like consistency. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve soup in warmed soup bowls over fresh garlic croutons.

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