This soup can easily be vegetarian if vegetable stock is used, but the recipe was written with chicken stock. There are a few steps that require waiting or simmering, but those things can be happening at the same time. You start by rehydrating dried mushrooms with hot water. While those sit for at least 20 minutes, you can start cooking the wild rice which takes almost an hour. I found some nice, long grains of wild rice from Minnesota, and it was cooked in boiling water with a little butter. Next, onion, garlic, and leeks can be chopped while waiting on the mushrooms and rice. Once the dried mushrooms were hydrated, they were drained into a bowl so the soaking liquid could be saved. The mushrooms were rinsed under running water to remove any grit, and they were squeezed dry before being chopped. Tough stems were discarded. The soaking liquid was poured through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and reserved. Moving right along, olive oil was heated in a Dutch oven, and the onion, garlic, and leeks were sauteed until tender. The chopped, dried mushrooms were added followed by flour. This mixture was cooked for a few minutes before white wine, stock, salt and pepper, some Tabasco (I prefer Crystal), and the mushroom soaking liquid were added. This was brought to a boil and then left to simmer for an hour. Yes, this soup takes some time. At this point, it could be refrigerated until the next day. After simmering, the soup was pureed in batches in a blender. It went back into the Dutch oven and half-and-half was added. As it was re-warmed, fresh mushrooms were sliced and sauteed in butter. Once cooked, they were sprinkled with lemon juice and sherry. The cooked, fresh mushrooms were added to the pureed soup along with the cooked wild rice. Thyme and parsley were added, and the soup was ready to be served.
Wild rice has always been one of my favorite grains, and I don’t cook it often enough. I love the chewy texture, and it’s a perfect match with mushrooms. This is a hearty and slightly decadent soup, but it’s a meal of a soup. There are layers of flavor from the dried mushrooms to the wine to the herbs added at the very end. I’m glad to have learned more about Craig Claiborne’s life, and I look forward to cooking more things he recommended.
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