March 08, 2010

Creamy Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup...

I am just a week behind in posting!! Now that sunny weather is visiting us for this week,(please stay!!), this post seems out of place. We went to the park yesterday and the whole town seemed to be there! The swings and slides were teeming with kids as if they all crawled out of the woodwork!  It was the first time after we moved that we saw so many of our neighbors. This winter everyone around just seems to be hibernating.
I was reading a book on snow to my little one and it was a story about a kid who can't wait for it to snow. she says....the ground is hard and cold..why doesn't it snow?..she lays out everything for a snowman and keeps going to the window every day to see its snowing...and when the snowstorms gets delayed she pulls a long face.. and finally the excitement when it does snow!!!It was the exact opposite of my sentiments! To see it from a child's eyes, the whole snow has a different kind of magic..reminds me of the anticipation  and the unbearable heat in Kerala before the monsoons relent.
I have a long list of posts to catch up but got my hands full with other activities and they are just lying around....So I am going to post them one after the other to finish them off.

When there is just snow all around, there is no better season for soups. This Season's soup had a new guest, wild rice and mushroom soup. Sounds weird? nah! It's a deliciously creamy soup, which can double up as a meal with some garlicky olive oil toast on the side.
I used white button mushroom, supposedly the least flavorful mushroom in comparison with all the shitake and cremini mushrooms around, but I was happy with the taste. You could try with any mushroom you like.
The wild rice is a chewy rice, well not exactly a rice..its a grass.. but I used the wild rice blend from supermarket, which is a blend of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, Wehani, Black Japonica and select wild rice pieces. It takes a little more time to cook than regular rice and tastes best if cooked with lots of water and then drained. I used it in the soup but it makes a pretty good fried rice too.

You will Need: For 4 servings
Mushrooms:any kind:1 lb or 2 cups of diced mushrooms
Green onions -1/2 cup sliced
White Onion-1 chopped
4 cups chicken/vegetable  broth or 1 chicken/veg stock bullion
Black pepper -1 tsp
Dried thyme leaves/oregano leaves-3/4 tsp
Olive oil/Butter-1 or 2 tbsp
Heavy Cream -1/4 cup
Milk- 1 cup (use cream instead if you want it richer)
All purpose flour-1tbsp
Wild rice-brown rice blend-1 1/2 cups cooked
Save the green parts of the scallions/green onions for garnish and use the white parts with the onions.
Cook  the chopped mushrooms and onion in the oil in a pan over medium-high heat until tender crisp. When the mushrooms leave their water and look well sauteed,  add the flour and stir fry it well. (as you would for a white sauce). Add the vegetable broth ( or the buillion with water.. this just adds more flavor as the mushrooms are kind of bland) and whisk it well to break up the lumps. Remove half the mushrooms and onions and blend it to a paste. Add it back to the soup and add milk and pepper and oregano. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in rice and adjust taste. Add the cream only in the end and add the garnish. Make it as thick or as thin as you like in a soup.