When I was pregnant, I told Tom that “this kid better like mushrooms, or s/he won’t be eating much in this house.” Turns out, Z is still on the fence about them – but he better get on board soon, because I will never stop including them in our dinners.
Even as a picky kid, I adored mushrooms. I love them in pasta, love them as a side to steak, love them in soups, and love them on a burger – even more than bacon. Mushroom soup has always been one of my favorite soups. I enjoy both the brothy versions and the creamy versions (but I rarely make cream soups at home). I had some leftover porcini mushrooms from a different recipe that needed to be used up, so I decided to search my starred recipes for “poricini” (man do I love you, Google Reader).
I had nearly every ingredient for this soup on hand, except the wild rice. I added it to the grocery list and my husband went shopping. He called to tell me they only had a small package of wild rice, and it was expensive. By small, I was thinking a couple cups, so I told him to get it. Well, the box was literally the size of a deck of cards, possibly smaller. I actually didn’t even have the full 2/3 cup of rice the recipe called for. Sigh. It was close enough, so I still went on with making the soup, but seriously, why do they sell rice in packages so small?!
Between the porcini and cremini mushrooms, and ridiculously overpriced “box” of wild rice, this soup wasn’t particularly inexpensive, but thankfully what it lacked in frugality it made up for in flavor. It’s incredibly earthy and so comforting. It’s healthy yet hearty, and is the perfect accompaniment to both a rainy evening and a hunk of crusty bread.
Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
Adapted from the New York Times
1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
1/2 lb. cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced thick (I used 10 oz. because that’s the size they sell at my store)
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup wild rice
2 qts. chicken or vegetable broth/stock
A bouquet garni made with a few sprigs each of thyme and parsley
1 bay leaf
1 Parmesan rind
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a large glass measuring cup, and pour on 2 cups boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes. Line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth at set if over a bowl. Lift the mushrooms from the water, and squeeze them over the strainer; roughly chop the mushrooms. Pour the soaking water through the strainer, and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring often, until just about tender, about five minutes.
Add the cremini mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are beginning to soften, about three minutes. Add the garlic and a generous pinch of salt. Continue to cook for about five minutes until the mixture is juicy and fragrant.
Add the reconstituted dried mushrooms, the wild rice, bouquet garni, mushroom soaking liquid, stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer one hour.
Add the peas, and simmer another 10 minutes.
Remove the bouquet garni, and season to taste.
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