Monday, March 4, 2013

in the kitchen: wild rice and mushroom soup

annnd it's Monday again! oofda. With Ry out of town for the weekend, I had some time to catch up a few projects I had been putting off and then headed to the 'burbs to see my parents (and Bailey too!). The weather was surprisingly nice, so my mom and I were able to walk with Bailey and catch up-we could talk for hours! Later my mom, dad and I went their favorite spot in town and we sipped on our favorite (dirty) martinis, while munching on pistachios-the perfect combination in my opinion.

Even though I had the goal of getting some cooking done while I was home, my mom was actually the one who was cheffin' it up with this weekend with a delicious wild rice and mushroom soup from Cooks Illustrated. I am a huge fan of wild rice and can never get enough mushrooms, so this recipe was a great marrying of the two ingredients. Best of all, unlike a lot of other rice & mushroom soup recipes I have seen, this one required very little heavy cream, so you can enjoy practically guilt-free!

Fun fact: wild rice is actually not rice! It is an aquatic grass that grows naturally in lakes and is cultivated in man-made paddies.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup via Cooks Illustrated

¼ cup dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed
4 ¼ cups of water
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove peeled, 4 garlic cloves minced
Salt and pepper
¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup wild rice
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (can be substituted for white mushrooms)
1 onion, chopped finely
1 tsp tomato paste
2/3 cup dried sherry
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup fresh chives, minced
¼ tsp finely grated lemon zest
*don't be scared off by the ingredient list-the prep is actually very easy!

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grind shiitake mushrooms in spice grinder (or blender) until finely ground.
  2. Bring 4 cups of water with thyme, bay leaf, garlic clove, ¾ tsp salt, and baking soda to a boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Add rice and return to a boil
  3. Cover saucepan, transfer to oven, and bake until rice is tender-about 35-50 minutes. Strain rice through mesh strainer, saving cooking liquid. Discard thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Add water to your reserved liquid so that you have 3 cups of water.
  4. Melt butter in Dutch oven (or cooking pot) over high heat. Add cremini mushroom, onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, ¾ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are brown and a dark fond (residue) develops on the bottom of your pan.
  5. Add sherry, scraping up any browned bits and cook until reduced and pot is almost dry. (about 2 minutes). Add ground shiitake mushroom, reserved rice cooking liquid, and soy sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, covered, until mushrooms and onions are tender-about 20 minutes.
  6. Whisk corn starch and ¼ cup rice water in small bowl to form a roux. Stir the mixture into the soup, return to a simmer, and cook until thickened. Remove pot from heat and stir in wild rice, cream, chives and lemon zest. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

We paired our soup with a delicious fresh salad and our favorite homemade French bread...hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Bon appetit!

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