Brianna’s Duck, Duck, Goose Wild Rice Soup

Wyatt wasn’t saying much, but he was alert and ready for action. The decoys had been set next to the blind and a mallard was flying overhead. He wore a camouflage hat as any good duck hunter knows is necessary, but his red and black plaid shirt would have betrayed him to the sharp-eyed duck above. It was pretty cold for a hunter-in-training, however, so the shirt was a good idea. If he had a chance to use the pop gun on his lap, at least he wouldn’t be shivering as he aimed.

Wyatt did well for a hunter just approaching his first birthday. He didn’t make a sound, just paid close attention to the stuff going into his trick or treat bag. My guess, however, is that most of the goodies ended up in Matt’s lunch pack to keep Wyatt’s dad warm in the blind or as snacks for Brianna as she put together Duck, Duck Goose.

A few days after Halloween, Brianna appeared at our door with a quart of this creamy wild rice soup made with ducks and geese that Matt brings home. We savored every spoonful, and I asked Brianna if she would let me share it on Courage in the Kitchen. She said yes, but there was still a problem.

I no longer hunt ducks or geese and therefore lack a key ingredient of Duck, Duck, Goose. I remember clearly my last hunt over decoys. My friend Bob and I had set our decoys at dawn on the south side of Totagatic Lake. It was November and a twenty-mile-an-hour wind was blowing snow mixed with freezing rain into our faces. As we slowly sank into the water on the bog and watched the bluebills riding the waves far out in the lake, it occurred to me that I was not enjoying the experience.

Thereafter I confined my duck hunting to sneaking up on teal on the ponds in my grandfather’s pasture. The best days for doing this was when it was sunny and warm. As a bonus, if there were no teal on the ponds, I could head for the thorn apple trees in the pasture in hopes of finding a grouse or two. The pasture is now a forest and I have not tried jump-shooting ducks for many years.

In all but a handful of the recipes for things that Jerri always makes, I cook every dish that shows up in this blog. However, Brianna was kind enough to give me her recipe, answer my questions and review the recipe after I had typed it out, so I’m confident that you’ll be able to put this really delicious soup on your table.

If you like wild rice soup but don’t have any wild ducks and geese, you might try Turkey Wild Rice Soup. I make it a couple of times a year with the remains of the Thanksgiving and Christmas birds that I bag at the local supermarket. We like that soup a lot, but Brianna’s version of Duck, Duck Goose is a soup that any hunter or hunter’s wife should make at least once every season.

The recipe makes a lot, so you can invite some friends or family members for dinner or share with the neighbors.


4 duck breasts
1 goose breast
5 cups uncooked wild rice
4 quarts water for cooking the rice
1 T salt
1 medium onion (about 3 inches in diameter)
4 or 5 large carrots
5 or 6 ribs celery
1/2 cup Riesling wine
1 T olive oil
4 quarts chicken stock
1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste


Start by cooking the cleaned duck and goose breasts. It is very important that all the feathers and pellets have been removed from the meat. Remove any skin that may have been left on the breasts. You can render some wonderful fat from duck and goose skins. My grandmother saved this fat for making really tender pie crusts.

Put the breasts into a slow cooker with enough water to cover the meat by a half inch or so. Set the heat control to low and cook the meat for ten hours.

About an hour before putting the soup together, remove the duck and goose breasts from the cooker and allow the meat to cool while you start the rice.

Rinse the rice in cold water and put it into a large kettle or stewpot. Add the water and salt and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the rice for fifty minutes. Check to see if some of the rice grains have popped open. If they have, the rice is nearly done. You can test it by chewing a few grains. They should be chewy but tender. Cook the rice a few minutes longer if you wish. Drain the water from the pot and set the rice aside.

Shred the meat into small pieces and set them aside while the rice is cooking. This is also the time to prepare the vegetables. Remove the stem and root ends and outer layer from the onion and chop it into a quarter-inch dice. Scrape or peel the carrots and chop them into quarter-inch rounds or half rounds. Clean and chop the celery into quarter-inch rounds. You want two to two and a half cups each of chopped carrots and celery.

Put a tablespoon of olive oil into a large pot (at least eight quarts) and cook the chopped onions over low heat for three or four minutes until they have become translucent, stirring often. Add the carrots, celery, chicken stock and wine and bring the pot to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about twenty minutes until the carrots are just becoming tender. Stir the meat and rice into the stock and vegetables. Raise the heat to bring the pot back to a very low simmer.

Make the roux while the pot is coming back to a simmer. Melt the butter in a skillet or heavy bottomed saucepan over moderate heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Reduce the heat and stir the flour continuously while it mixes with the butter and begins to bubble. Keep stirring for three to four minutes to cook the flour. Do not brown the roux. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the roux to cool slightly. Whisk two cups of slightly cooled broth from the the large pot into the roux, then stir the roux into the soup and simmer for another two or three minutes until the soup thickens.

Stir in a cup of whipping cream, bring just to a simmer, taste and adjust the seasoning. Do not boil.

Serve with good bread.

NOTES: I normally use a sauvignon blanc or other dry wine in chicken or vegetable soups. However, Briana specifically said that she likes Riesling in this recipe, and she is absolutely right. The sweetness of the Riesling complements the meat perfectly.

I prefer to make roux in a cast iron skillet, but I also use heavy-bottomed saucepans. If you don’t have heavy-bottomed pans, use very low heat and be careful not to burn the roux.

Turkey Wild Rice Soup

A long, long time ago, shortly after cooking pots came into use, a man was sitting in front of his cave watching his mate boil bones to flavor the seeds she planned to cook for the evening meal.

As the water boiled she turned a piece of meat on a stick over the fire.

“Woman,” said he, “why don’t you put some of that meat into the water?  We can’t eat bones, and that old goat you’re roasting is so tough I can hardly chew it.”

Since she was a good mate, she chopped a piece of the meat off the roast and tossed it into the pot.  Years later she would tell her grandchildren how she had invented soup, interrupted of course by the old man who claimed the credit.  

“I told her to add the meat.  She put in the roots and greens later, but she was just trying to make something fancy to impress the folks in the cave down the ledge.”

“It was because the hunting was poor, you old coot,” she would reply, and the children would laugh.

The argument about who invented soup is still going on.  There are even food writers who claim that the invention of soup was inevitable.  People who say this would probably not claim that cell phones were inevitable.  The only difference between the invention of the cell phone and the invention of soup is that soup was invented about twenty thousand years ago while some of us can remember a time when there were no little phones that made strange noises in the theater or church.

Someone has to apply his or her intelligence to solve a problem or see something that does not yet exist.  The man at the fire in front of the cave wanted tender meat and his mate wanted to cook other edibles at the same time, so soup came into existence.  The person who imagined a cell phone was probably a wife who wanted to remind her husband not to forget the bread and milk or a husband wishing he could apologize in advance for being late for dinner.

Soup might have been invented by different people at different times around the world, or the invention may have spread from some remote cave in China where 20,000 year-old cooking pots have been discovered.  Today, however, virtually everyone enjoys soup, and you can find dozens of soup cookbooks.

I love a good soup and enjoy reading cookbooks. While not thought of as a cookbook, the plot of Stone Soup, by Marcia Brown, is really a recipe for a pretty good soup. I first read the book when I was about five years old. The story is based on a folk tale about three hungry soldiers who get some selfish villagers to supply the food for a pot of delicious soup. I was fascinated by how easy it sounded to make soup.

Marcia Brown, the author of Stone Soup, published another “cookbook” called Skipper John’s Cook, which you can read online complete with the illustrations by clicking HERE. It is a book with a good lesson for anyone who wants to succeed as a cook.

Since we were in leftover turkey time, like Skipper John I was looking for interesting ways to vary the menu but use up the turkey before Christmas arrived. Jerri suggested using some in a wild rice soup. I liked the idea and here is how to make your own turkey wild rice soup.


1 cup uncooked wild rice
3 cups water
3 T butter
1 T vegetable oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1/8 tsp. powdered garlic
1/4 tsp. white pepper
5 T all-purpose flour
4 cups turkey or chicken broth
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. instant or 2 cubes chicken bouillon
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups chopped leftover turkey
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Fresh parsley for garnish


Rinse the wild rice in cold water, drain it well and put it in a covered saucepan with three cups of cold water. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer covered for an hour. Stir occasionally and add more water if necessary. When the rice is done remove the pan from the heat and leave it covered to cool.

While the rice is cooking, clean and slice the mushrooms and clean and chop the onion, carrots and celery into a quarter to half-inch dice. Chop the turkey into bite-sized pieces and clean and coarsely chop some parsley for a garnish.

Melt three tablespoons of butter in a Dutch oven or soup pot over moderate heat. Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and sauté the mushrooms for about two minutes. Add the onions and cook them until they begin to soften. Then mix the carrots and celery with the mushrooms and onions and season the mixture with the powdered garlic and white pepper.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir continuously for two minutes to cook the flour. Add the broth and stir until you have a smooth liquid. Add the salt and two teaspoons of instant or two cubes of chicken bouillon. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for twenty minutes to cook the vegetables. Stir occasionally.

Drain the rice and stir it into the soup, then stir in a cup of cream and the turkey. Grind a little black pepper on the soup. Bring the soup nearly to a simmer, taste and adjust the seasoning. If necessary, thin it with a little cream.

NOTES: When I first made this soup, my chief taster, proofreader and editor judged it “not as good” as some she had eaten. It needed more salt and turkey, and a more velvety texture. One mistake I made was using half and half rather than cream in my first attempt. Be warned. If diners want to reduce their consumption of butterfat, serve them a small bowl of soup and a large one of salad.

If you serve it like we do, here is what they will see.