Saturday, 23 August 2008

Where The Wild Rice Are

I do enjoy dinner parties. Even though they can be expensive, stressful and physically taxing, the pay-off is very rewarding. As humble as I am, I do enjoy the attention from hosting dinner parties and the boost to my fragile ego.

Last night I cooked (with the help of friends and family) for seven adults a modest meal and so I was slightly pushed to include some of the recipes from last night. The salad was a last minute thought but the dressing turned out really well. The soup however was a hit and so I think I will include here even though I have so many soup recipes on the blog as it is.

As for wild rice, if you've never cooked it or used it before, rest assured it is very simple. I have only used Canadian Wild Rice (in fact, I didn't even know a Texan Wild Rice existed until I read the Wikipedia page on wild rice a few weeks ago, which I hear is in danger of becoming extinct) which is very straightforward. The trick is to soak the rice overnight is slightly salted water and this will not only reduce the cooking time, but it also helps in even cooking.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

1 Portobello Mushroom, stem removed, top thinly jullienne
12 Small Cremini or Button Mushrooms, sliced
5 Shitake Mushrooms, stems removed, top thinly sliced
1 Spanish Onion, half finely diced and other half roughly cut
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
1 Bay Leaf
1 Sprig Fresh Thyme, leaves and stem separated
1 Sprig of Rosemary, leaves and stem separated, leaves chopped
250 g Wild Rice, soaked overnight
1 Green Onion, sliced
10 ml Almond Butter or Chestnut Paste (optional)
Dab of Butter
Drizzle of Hazelnut Oil (optional)
Salt and Pepper to Taste

In a stock pot, bring 4L of water to boil with mushroom stems, herb stems, bay leaf and roughly cut onion. Let boil for 8 - 10 minutes and set aside to cool slightly. Strain and reserve mushroom stock.

In a soup pot, heat a dab of butter and hazelnut oil until frothy. Sauté onion until slightly brown. Add garlic. After 1 minute, add medley of mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes. If your pan is too dry from the mushrooms soaking up the fat, compensate by adding more olive oil. Add reserved stock and wild rice. Bring to a slight boil and reduce heat. Add herbs, almond butter and seasonings.

Serves 8 - 10

A Humble Chef`s tip: don`t make this soup too far ahead of serving or eating. The wild rice can become too mushy if you try to keep it for too long.

Variation: if you are the type of person who likes to add pasta to soups, orzo pasta is a good choice for this. Just be sure to cook the pasta separately, discard the cooking water and to add last minute.

1 comment:

TCO said...

Made this soup last night for a housewarming. It went over pretty well, and reminded Trix and her parents of the wild rice stuffing they traditionally made for festive dinners.

In spite of my self-doubts, it turned out really well and was super easy!!