Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

You are in for a treat if you hear the siren's song and actually try this recipe. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have access to some absolutely incredible ingredients; wild rice, grown locally in the Willamette Valley, and wild mushrooms, free for the picking in the BLM forests surrounding us, are among them. This is not your Mama's mushroom soup. The recipe was developed by Caprial Pence who has a unique ability to transfer the flavors of the Pacific Northwest from head to pot to table with deft surety. I have made a few changes to the recipe and I do want to add a caution for those who decide to make this. The caution - red wine; it can produce a soup with wonderful depth of flavor but the color leaves something to be desired. You might want to substitute a dry white wine for the red or simmer the mushrooms until the red wine has nearly disappeared. Pence uses a lot of wine in her recipes (it's another locally available ingredient) and she uses the good stuff. I'm a "two buck Chuck" gal (for cooking anyway), so I have to be a little more careful and make sure that the wine is reduced until nearly evaporated. I love to serve this with an endive salad and fresh bread on a rainy night. I justify it's extravagance with the argument that wild rice (actually a grain producing grass) is high in fiber, low in sugar and contains no saturated or trans fats. If I'm still feeling guilty I bolster my argument with its protein content - it contains up to 50% more protein than white rice. If you're poor as a church mouse and can't continence such extravagance, use brown rice and swap criminis for the wild mushrooms. You'll have an equally delicious and reasonable facsimile. Give this one a try!

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
1 cup wild rice
3 cups chicken stock
Freshly ground black pepper
Mushroom Soup:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 cups sliced button mushrooms
3 cups sliced wild mushrooms
2 cups red wine
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons dried mushroom powder (optional, see Cook's Note below)
2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (i.e. Tabasco)
Freshly ground black pepper

1) To prepare the rice, heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the garlic and shallot and sauté one minute. Add the rice and sauté 1 to 2 minutes. Add the stock and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover, decrease the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 40 minutes, or until tender.
2) Heat the remainder of the olive oil in a stockpot over high heat until very hot. Add the onion and garlic and lightly sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red wine and reduce until about 1/2 cup of liquid remains. Add the potatoes and stock and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
3) Puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in the bowl of a food processor or in a blender, and then return the soup to the stock pot. Add the cream, rosemary, and thyme and cook for about 15 minutes. Add the rice and hot pepper sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 6 servings.

Cook's Note: To make mushroom powder, preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Spread the contents of a 1-1/2-ounce package of dried mushrooms (porcini if possible) on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until completely dried, about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool and grind in a spice mill until you have a fine powder. Store in a jar for up to six months.


Maria said...

I was looking for a good mushroom soup recipe the other day..now I have one. Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

Yummy! And I'll keep the red wine. I loving using it soups...gives me an excuse to open a bottle!

Jenny said...

Now this looks like something I'd like for lunch today! Beautiful recipe!

Cathy said...

This wonderful soup will surely warm body and soul. Capriel serves up some mighty tasty dishes in her lovely restaurant. I go for the more modest wines also and am usually very happy with the results. I think two buck Chuck is now about four buck Chuck. Alas.

As a little note of appreciation for all your marvelous recipes and insights I've left a little something for you on my blog. Pass it on or not, I want you to know how much I look forward to your lovely posts. You're an inspiration Mary.

test it comm said...

Using wild rice in a mushroom soup sounds really good!

free online adventure games said...

I think I could actually use this as a full meal - so full of nutrition and with virtually all the food groups covered. Do you think I could add some meat or seafood or something?

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