It’s that time of year, fellow forkers! Fall is officially here, and the weather down in our normally still sweltering parts is actually starting to feel like autumn. In the morning and early evenings at least. Oh thank you, sweet baby gods of mercy. Thank. You. We celebrated at my house by cooking up the first soup of the season. That’s kind of a heavy burden for a soup, dontcha think? A lot of pressure to reassure the taste buds that they too can has Fall. But I knew this one was going to work. Because I made it exactly one time before. About seven years ago. I haven’t forgotten one bit what this soup tasted like. I may not remember exactly what I did the day before, but this soup – oh yeah. Priorities.
This originally came to me in a Martha Stewart magazine, and it’s so old (2003, positively ancient) that her site doesn’t even have it archived. I had to search, but Google came through for me. This is a very taste-rich soup that, despite lacking meat, is very filling, the mushrooms more than satisfying for my personal meat quota. In fact, if you’re a vegetarian, I’d suggest simply replacing the chicken stock in the recipe below with veggie stock and shazam, you’ve got a very tasty vegetarian soup (Well, there is the matter of a tiny bit of heavy cream – are there vegetarian substitutes for this?).The taste will probably differ slightly, but I’d bet you my brand new dutch oven, which I love more than life itself ATM, that it’s still good. And yummy.
You start this one off with lots of these fellas. From the modest to the exotic, this soup can has it all when it comes to mushrooms.
I actually had a bit of a hard time finding wild rice at my grocers. I went with the .99 cent Mahatma wild rice mix that comes in a 4.5 or so ounce size. This soup, we makes it on the cheap.
Time to push the shrooms around. You want them to brown a little, so don’t crowd them all into the pan at once. Work them in batches. If you’re doing one recipe, divide in half and brown. If you'[re doubling the recipe, more batch browning may be needed.
Next in the lineup are one of my favorite things – leeks. Like onions, but milder. Milder, yet still so capable of wonderful flavor. You’re going to use a lot of these. Once cut up they’ll look like an army of leeks in your pot. This is good. They’ll cook down to about half or more, so do use all the white and light green parts.
This soup simmers for only twenty minutes. People, this is a weeknight soup! You can has homemade soup in, pretty much, about an hour!
Just two tablespoons of heavy cream adds in a deeper color and fuller flavor. Seriously, only two tablespoons! It’s a soup miracle.
This tasted every bit as good as I remembered. Make ya some. Enjoy!
Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
From Martha Stewart Living, September 2003, but I found it online here (bless you!)
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: about 1 hour Level: Easy Serves: 4-6
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 cup wild rice or 1-2 bags Mahatma wild rice mix, 4.5 oz. size
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 1/4 pounds assorted mushrooms, such as button, cremini, shiitake (stems removed), and chanterelle, sliced into bite-size pieces
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 leeks (white and pale-green parts only), quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon Porcini Powder (see below and Notes)
- 1/2 cup sherry or Madeira (we used sherry)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh, flat-leaf parsley
In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add salt and wild rice. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until tender, 45 to 50 minutes. Drain; set aside.
Remember, this is where I substituted that Mahatma wild rice mix, though. It does have salt in it, so you might not need to add as much salt, say, when sauteing the mushrooms. But also, you only have to cook the mix kind for 25 minutes according to package directions, minus the butter it calls for. I suggest starting this and immediately getting going on the rest of the directions below, or you can make it ahead earlier in the day and keep it in the fridge till ready for it to save some time. You won’t add it till the end. I ended up using about two and a half cooked bags of the mix. It’s cheap, so don’t smite me, cooking gods, for using a short cut.
In a large saucepan, heat half the oil over medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned and tender, about 7 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Repeat wit remaining oil and mushrooms.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Melt butter; add leeks. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in mushroom powder; cook 1 minute. Add sherry and soy sauce; cook 1 minute more.
Add stock to pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; return turn to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 20 minutes. Stir in wild rice, cream, and parsley; adjust seasoning, and serve.
PORCINI POWDER (1/3 cup)
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
In a spice mill or coffee grinder, pulse porcini to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. If you can’t find dried porcini mushrooms (my veggie section guy had no idea what they even were, sadly), just leave it out. I did the fist time we made this years ago and what we didn’t know didn’t hurt the taste.
On the porcini powder: I happened to have a porcini spice mix that I got a while back from William-Sonoma, so I did use that this time. Honestly…I still don’t know that there was that big a taste difference. If you’ve got it, might as well use it, but if you don’t, no need to sweat it.
On portions: After making this, I really wish I’d doubled the recipe. It doesn’t make a big enough pot of soup, for us that is. When we make soup this time of year, we generally count on being able to have it for at least one more meal throughout the week. Also, there was certainly not enough for everyone to have seconds if they wanted, and if this will be your main meal, you probably do want to double the recipe. Which still won’t be that expensive. Most of these ingredients were things that didn’t get entirely used in one recipe anyway.