Some of my best recipe ideas pop into my mind while I am in the car, alone, listening to music. Or on the bike in spin class. My mind wanders, I start thinking about ingredients, and different ways of using them. As my mind plays with the ingredients, I begin storing these recipes away in my mental recipe box. This Wild Rice Mushroom Soup recipe came about as I was driving home over the holidays, hungry, which is just as bad as grocery shopping in that state as by the time I pulled into town I was ravishing!
As I said, I was hungry and wanted a big bowl of warm comfort food. I was craving mushrooms and had an itching for wild rice. I love the texture of wild rice, as well as the earthy flavors it leaves me. I knew I had most of the ingredients at home, and all I needed to do was swing by the store to pick up fresh mushrooms and a little heavy cream.
Once home, I opened a bottle of white wine, turned some music on, and began chopping, stirring, cooking, and tasting. It was like the perfect dream, as I added each new chapter to the Dutch oven, it all came together nicely. Earthy, texture-rich, and full of flavor.
Since that first attempt, I have made the recipe a few times using chicken stock in place of the vegetable stock; both ways work perfectly. I have opted to stir the cream in at the very end, that way I can freeze leftovers for another time. As well, it gives you the option of a dairy-free soup, which is also lovely.
Recipe: Wild Rice Mushroom Soup
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushroom – have also used shiitake and maitake
1 cup boiling water
1 cup wild rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small (5 ounces) yellow onion, finely diced
3 celery stalks, finely diced
3 carrots, scrubbed clean, do not peel, then finely dice
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
12 ounces assorted mushrooms – cremini, oyster, etc.. I use what is available/and or on sale, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white white
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
handful Italian parsley, finely chopped
Place the dried mushroom in a small bowl and cover with 1 cup of boiling water. Set aside for 20 minutes. Once soft, strain the mushrooms and the mushroom broth through a piece of cheesecloth into a small bowl. Save the broth. Roughly chop these mushrooms, then set aside.
Place the wild rice into a large saucepan, sprinkle in a little salt and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and cook for 35 – 40 minutes. Rice should only be al dente; do not overcook. After it has cooked, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, then set aside.
In a dutch oven add the olive oil and yellow onion, stir and cook over medium-low heat until soft. This will only take about 3 – 5 minutes.
Add the celery and carrots to the onions, stir and cook for 8 minutes.
Stir the garlic and the dried (not dry any longer) mushrooms into the onion mixture, stir and cook over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
Stir in the assorted mushrooms, and the thyme. Cook for 5 minutes longer.
Deglaze the pan with the white wine, scraping up the browned pieces of vegetables, and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the mushroom broth and the stock.
Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a very low simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add the rice and the parsley, and gently heat for 3 minutes.
Ladle into bowls. If serving with cream, stir a couple of tablespoons into each bowl.
Garnish with a little parsley.