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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wild Rice Soup with Mushrooms and Thyme

GLUTEN-FREE


Some creamy wild rice soups are heavy and sticky, but this is a more delicate version. The lighter broth makes it easy to appreciate the other flavors and textures, like soft, savory mushrooms and chewy, nutty wild rice.

Chicken is an optional ingredient, but it does add a nice amount of protein. Without chicken, I serve this soup as a starter or alongside a salad. With chicken, I serve it as a main course.

I used leftover roasted chicken but a rotisserie chicken would also work. I added fresh thyme because I always have it on hand in my window garden, but you could substitute dried thyme if need be. Soak the wild rice for a few hours in advance if you can.

1 strip pasture-raised bacon, chopped, or substitute 2 tbsp grass-fed/organic butter
1 medium onion
4 stalks celery
2 cups thinly sliced crimini or shiitake mushrooms 
4 cloves garlic
Sea salt
Ground peppercorn
1 cup wild rice, soaked
4 cups chicken, mushroom, or vegetable stock
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves, or substitute 1 tbsp dried thyme
1/2 cup grass-fed/organic cream (optional)
2 cups cubed or shredded pasture-raised chicken

Warm a soup pot with a heavy bottom over medium heat. Add the butter or bacon and cook until the butter has melted or the bacon has crisped and the fat has rendered.

Reduce the heat a little and add the onion, celery, and mushrooms. Stir occasionally and cook until the vegetables are soft and starting to brown. When they start to stick to the bottom, stir in a pinch of sea salt (which will release some moisture) and reduce the heat to low.

Once the vegetables have browned a little bit, add the garlic and stir until it becomes aromatic. Add the wild rice, stock, and dried thyme if you are using it. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the wild rice is tender, about 45 minutes. If the liquid level becomes low during cooking, add some boiling water.

Once the wild rice is cooked, stir in the cream, cooked chicken, and fresh thyme if you're using it. Taste the soup for seasoning and make any necessary adjustments. Continue cooking the soup over low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot. Do not boil the soup after you've added the cream. Serve immediately.

If you're making this soup in advance, remove it from the heat after you've perfected the seasoning. Set it aside for up to two hours or cool it to room temperature and transfer it to the fridge until you're ready to eat it.

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