SLOW COOKER NOTE: I use a 6-quart crockpot for this recipe. If you have a size smaller than 5 quarts, halve this recipe so it will not spill over.
CHICKEN PREP: Trim the fat off the chicken. If using thighs, add to slow cooker whole. If adding breasts, cut each breast into 3-4 pieces then add to slow cooker.
SLOW COOKER: Place the uncooked wild rice blend, finely diced onion, finely diced carrot, finely diced celery, minced garlic, and diced sweet potato in the slow cooker with the chicken. Add all of the seasonings. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper here). Pour chicken broth/stock over everything.
COOK: Stir, cover and cook on low for 5-8 hours or high for 3-1/2 to 5 hours-- until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through and shreds easily.
CREAM MIXTURE: About 30 minutes before the soup is done, heat the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Heat until melted and then slowly whisk in the flour. Allow to bubble and cook, whisking constantly for 1 minute. Gradually pour in 2 cups of the milk, whisking constantly as it is added. Allow mixture to simmer over medium-low heat until thickened, stirring occasionally.
SHRED CHICKEN: Once the soup is finished, remove the chicken to a small bowl and shred with two forks. Add back to the slow cooker. Stir in the cream mixture. Add up to add an additional cup of milk if the soup is too thick for your preference.
ENJOY: Remove the bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings ( I typically add an extra 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper). If desired, top soup with freshly chopped parsley or fresh thyme. Serve with crusty bread.
STORAGE: This soup stores well in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat over low heat, slowly to keep the soup from breaking. This soup does not freeze and thaw well because the dairy in it tends to separate and break.
STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS: Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a very large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add in the chicken stock, wild rice, sweet potato, and all the seasonings (we add1 teaspoon salt and pepper). Stir to combine; bring soup to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender, stirring occasionally. During those final 10 minutes, prepare the cream mixture (see instruction #5 above). Add the cream mixture to the soup and gently stir to combine. Stir in 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken. Taste and adjust salt and pepper seasoning (we usually add another 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of each here, but add to preference). Serve warm garnished with fresh herbs as desired!