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Wild Rice and Wild Mushroom Soup

Wild rice isnt really a rice at all but a semiaquatic grass native to North America. In California and Minnesota, wild rice grows throughout the summer and is harvested in September and October. Its earthy flavor makes it a perfect grain for serving during the autumn months.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1/2 oz. dried wild mushrooms, such as porcini,
      chanterelles or shiitakes
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 lb. fresh button mushrooms, brushed clean
      and sliced
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Rinse the wild rice in several changes of water and drain. Place the rice in a saucepan and add 2 cups of the boiling water and the 1/2 tsp. salt.

Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat to low, cover and cook, without stirring, until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Meanwhile, place the dried mushrooms in a small bowl and add the remaining 1 cup boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes until softened. Drain, reserving the liquid, and set the mushrooms aside. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Set aside.

In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and celery and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the wine and cook until reduced to about 2 Tbs., 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium, add the fresh and rehydrated mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms wilt, about 15 minutes. Increase the heat to high, add the stock and the reserved mushroom liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, until the mushrooms are very soft, about 20 minutes. Add the wild rice and the cream and simmer for 5 minutes more to blend the flavors. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with the parsley. Serve immediately.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Autumn, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).