Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sharing a superb soup when the temperature is in the single digits

Years and years ago, back before wild rice was easily found in grocery stores, a relative in Minnesota would send me wild rice.  Once the package arrived with a recipe for wild rice and mushroom soup.  And the earth moved.  Simply the best mushroom soup I'd ever tasted, let alone made.  I cooked it up for our own dinners and for dinner parties, too.  I made it often, and it was always good. 

Back then, though, I didn't make my own chicken stock, and I hadn't figured out that making a broth with the mushroom stems would enhance the flavor.  Even so, it was pretty delicious.  And now that I've learned a few tricks in the kitchen, it's even better.

Particularly when the temperature is in the single digits, and we've already had more snow by January 23 than we had last year by the end of April.  Daunting thought, that.

Just two notes about the recipe.  Now I usually make it with the Lundstrom's wild rice mix, which means the cooking time is less.  Wild rice takes much longer to cook than white or even brown rice, but using the mix makes it easier.  And, more importantly, doesn't diminish the taste or texture.  Plus it freezes well. 

So have at it...

Sherried Mushroom Soup

1 c wild rice or 1 c wild rice mixture
1 oz dried porcini soaked in 2 c boiling water
1/4 c butter or mild tasting oil (regardless of instructions, I use extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 c celery, finely chopped
3 c sliced mushrooms, preferably mixture of cremini and shittake
1/2 c flour
1/2 c sherry
5-6 c chicken broth (if you made broth from your mushroom stems, make this part of the 5-6 cups)
1 t dry mustard
1 t salt
2 t curry powder
2 t chili powder
2 t paprika
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 T or more good Sherry vinegar

If using raw wild rice, bring 4 c water to boil in 3 qt pot. Add raw wild rice and 1 t salt. Boil, stirring, for 5 minutes. Lower heat slightly, cover, and cook rice 30-40 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed.  If using wild rice mix, follow package instructions.  When done, set aside until needed.

Drain dried porcinis, reserving liquid for use below.

Chop mushrooms (saving stems and making stock from them if you feel like it)

In Dutch oven melt butter or oil over medium heat, add onion and celery. Cook and stir until soft. Add the 3 lb mushrooms, cook about 2 minutes.

Mix in flour. Stir in sherry. Gradually add chicken broth and liquid from dried mushrooms, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Stir in cooked rice, salt, chili powder, curry powder, mustard, paprika, and pepper. Reduce heat to low.

Taste and add vinegar for flavor enhancement and balance.

Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally, until desired doneness. Ladle hot soup into individual bowls.

Makes 3 quarts and freezes well.

Along with some good bread and a suitable spread for it, this makes a perfect meal.

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