This recipe combines some of my favourite flavours: earthy mushrooms and nutty, smoky wild rice which really isn’t a rice! Wild rice is the seed of an aquatic rice that’s been consumed by Native Indians. Here in Canada, wild rice is grown in shallow lakes in rivers in the provinces of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and north-western Ontario.
Native Indians used to harvest wild rice by hand then roast it over open fires. Today, the harvest is conducted with air-propeller boats then dry roasted before reaching market. Beyond wild rice’s nutty (and mildly smoky) flavour, it’s high in fibre, easy to digest and if it matters to you – it’s gluten-free.
My calendar is getting colder day by day and that means more soups in my diet. I love salads and soups truly make Winters bearable for me here in Canada. They are a great way for incorporating vegetables in your diet and one of those vegetables are mushrooms.
I love mushrooms, have always loved mushrooms and they are available here winter or summer with the help of indoor cultivation and dried mushrooms. Drying fruits and vegetables is an old method used to preserve ingredients at their height/prime. Dried mushrooms figure prominently in this dish, mushroom soup.
This is a riff on my stand-by mushroom soup but with the addition of wild rice and dried mushrooms – funghi lovers will adore this soup. There are many varieties of dried mushrooms available out there but I wouldn’t use the more exotic (and expensive) ones. I used dried Shitakis with were re-hydrated in boiling water which also transforms into an earthy, rich mushroom stock.
The mushroom stock, the fresh mushrooms, onions, bay and thyme along with some vegetable or chicken stock make this soup a rich in flavour and by far one of my fave soups. The soup is creamy not to the point of being like a chowder in consistency. I used evaporated milk instead of cream – you choice here and you may add as much as you desire – depending on how thick (or thin) you like your soup.
Sometimes mushroom have some dirt on them – wipe them with a wet towel or quickly scrub under running cold water. Either way, dirt and grit with your mushrooms is not included in this recipe and I don’t think you want it in yours. I’m using regular white or button mushrooms for the base of the as I don’t want it to be too dark and then some sautéed sliced Cremini mushrooms are added for more depth and to stand out when the soup is served. Soup is on!
Mushroom & Wild Rice Soup
(inspired by Canadian Living recipe)
1/2 cup of wild rice (cooked)
1/3 cup of dried mushrooms
2 cups hot water
1 1/2 cup of sliced Cremini mushrooms (rinsed)
1/4 cup of unsalted butter or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 lb. of white or button mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
1 bay leaf
6-8 sprigs of thyme leaves
1 shot of Metaxa brandy
4-5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream or evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste
- Place your wild rice in a small pot with about 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add some salt and simmer for approx. 30 minutes or until the rice splits (should be able to bite into it). Remove from the heat and strain, reserve.
- In the meantime, Boil about 2 cups of water and then place in a bowl with your dried mushrooms and tightly cover for 30 minutes. The mushrooms should be re-hydrated and soft and the water will have turned into a mushroom stock. Strain the stock (remove any grit) and sliced the mushrooms and reserve.
- In a large pot, add the butter or olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, celery, bay leaf, thyme and sliced white mushrooms and a pinch of salt and some ground pepper. Stir and cover and allow to sweat for 5-7 minutes. Add the brandy and reduce for 2 minutes then add the reserved mushroom stock and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes uncovered and check and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- In the meantime, add some olive oil to a small pan and add your sliced Cremini mushrooms along with some salt and pepper and saute until just browned. Remove from the heat and reserve.
- Back to the soup, remove from the heat and take out the bay leaf and any sprigs of thyme floating around and discard. Puree your soup in with a hand blender then place back on your stovetop along with the reserved cooked wild rice and browned sliced Cremini mushrooms and bring simmer over medium-low heat. Add up to 1/2 cup of cream, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and simmer for minutes and take off the heat. Serve as part of your lunch with your favourite sandwich or as part of a dinner course.
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