Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Damn, that's Good! Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup

Occasionally I strike out.  I made something the other night that Tony so over-salted.  I got the message.

Tonight, on the other hand, home run.

Wow. What's with all these sports metaphors? That's so not me.

Anyway, back to my home run.  Or really, back as far as Passover.  I got this idea that I would make some mushroom matzah kugel for Seder.  So I bought a couple of trays of crimini mushrooms.  But my friend Sharon offered to bring this winner of a sweet potato dish, and I realized I could drop back one dish.  I'm an ambitious hostess, but I know a gift when I see one.  At that last moment, having one less thing to prepare is a blessing.  Thank you, Sharon!

Passover was a bit ago already, but I still have a couple of gallons of turkey broth, and two packages of mushrooms.  Perfect storm for Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup.  This is the easiest soup ever, hearty and delicious.  And demonstrates the value of having frozen broth on hand.  If you don't have broth, click this sentence for my fast and easy Vegetable Bin Broth recipe.

Wild Rice & Onion Mushroom Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, sliced thin
1 container of mushrooms (about 8 oz), sliced
8 cups or so of turkey, chicken, beef or vegetable broth
1/2 cup of uncooked wild rice (or, use quinoa, barley, beans or lentils)
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep saute pan.  Add sliced onions to hot oil, and turn the heat down to medium low.  Push the onions around so they all get coated in oil, and then stir occasionally.  Saute until onions become translucent, and then caramelize.  To caramelize the onions, you simply cook them over medium to low heat long enough for them to brown, stirring occasionally so they don't stick and burn.  If they seem to be sticking, just turn the heat down and stir more frequently.  This process takes about thirty minutes.  If you want a fuller explanation about caramelizing onions with lots of pictures, click this sentence to be whisked to one of my favorite recipe blogs, Simply Recipes.

Once the onions are how you like them - or if you've never done this before, a warm brown color, push the onions to the side of the pan to make room for the sliced mushrooms. Toss them in, and push them around every few minutes, for about ten minutes, until they are well sauteed, but still firm.  Set the onions and mushrooms aside.

You can see carrots in my soup.  These were already in the
turkey broth, but aren't necessary.
In a pot, pour the broth and add the wild rice.  Heat to barely boiling, then lower the heat and simmer gently for thirty minutes, until the rice is al dente.  If you're using something other than wild rice, adjust the time accordingly.  Lentils, for example, usually take longer than 30 minutes.  

When the rice is ready to eat, simply stir in the onions and mushrooms, and let them heat in the broth for a couple of minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Ready to serve.

Before we say goodbye so you can go make this simple and beautiful soup, I feel the need to make mention of my suggested substitutes for wild rice.  Not everybody has wild rice in the house all the time.  You could, I suppose, substitute regular white rice for this dish.  It's not as hearty and the flavor is different, but it would work pretty well.  You could substitute pasta.  Almost everyone has regular rice and some sort of pasta sitting around the cupboard.  But I specifically did not recommend those things because they are high on the glycemic index, and low on nutritional value.

They are the comfort foods of your childhood, but if you don't give them up or at least reduce their incidence in your diet significantly, they will be the bain of your old age.

But don't take my word for it.  If you don't understand glycemic index, read what Harvard says about it by clicking this sentence.  To see Harvard's food chart listing glycemic index of 100 foods, click this sentence.

Was that easy or what?

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