Using the right chicken stock makes an enormous difference.
That first Taste wild-rice soup recipe — which hailed from the Orion Room, a swank restaurant on the 50th floor of the IDS Tower in downtown Minneapolis — called for preparing a stock using duck bones, a smoked ham bone, liquid Maggi seasoning (a flavor-boosting, sodium-rich condiment) and almonds.
Here's an easier way, also from the Taste archives. It starts with one of those convenient and affordable supermarket roast chickens. The end of one, anyway. In a 2008 story, chef Scott Pampuch — at the time, he was chef/owner of Corner Table in south Minneapolis — offered a quick, helpful tutorial on converting a picked-over roast chicken into liquid gold.
Here's how: Using a heavy cleaver, chop up the carcass ("You're trying to extract gelatin from the bones, and the more surface you create, the faster the process," said Pampuch) and place the bones — along with any remaining skin and meat — in the bottom of a Dutch oven or large pot over low heat.
Roughly chop an onion, two carrots and three celery ribs, and add them to the simmering chicken bones, along with a few black peppercorns and a bay leaf. Stir to coat the vegetables with chicken fat. Add enough cold water to cover the bones, then increase the heat to high. When the water reaches a boil, return heat to low and gently simmer, uncovered, for at least two hours and up to eight hours (remember, the longer the stock simmers, the deeper the flavor), adding additional water if it's cooked a long time.
Remove from the heat, bring the stock to room temperature and, using a slotted spoon, remove (and discard) as many bones and vegetables as possible. Cover the stock and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Skim off congealed fat, then bring the stock to room temperature and pour it through a strainer. When it's stored in a tightly sealed container, the stock will keep for five to seven days in the refrigerator and three months in the freezer; always reboil stock before using.