Wild Rice Soup

 

Wild Rice Soup

Popular in Minnesota.  Northern wild rice is not a rice but actually a type of aquatic grass.  Native Americans harvested it in canoes by paddling to the stands of grass, bending them over their canoes and beating them to extract the grain. Traditionally the soup does not contain asparagus.  I added it because the stalks were sitting in the fridge crying out to be used.

  • 2 cups dried mushrooms (porcini, shitake, oyster, crimini, etc.)
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 stalks of asparagus, tough ends removed, and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 cup non fat half and half
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • Ground pepper and salt to taste
  • Chopped parsley for garnish.

In a large soup pot put the mushrooms and cover with 4 cups chicken broth.  Bring to boil.  Turn off the heat and let the mushrooms soak until soft (about 15 minutes).  Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and put them in a bowl.   Add the remaining broth to the pot along with the wild rice and chicken.  Bring to a boil.  Skim the foam.  Add the onion, celery, thyme, and bay leaf.  When the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until grains begin to pop open.  When the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, Press them with the back of the slotted spoon to extract extra moisture.  Pour the liquid back into the soup.  Chop the mushrooms and return them to the pot.  When the wild rice is done, remove the chicken and chop it.  Blend the cornstarch with the half and half and add the chicken, asparagus and half and half to the soup.  Heat to thicken but do not boil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with parsley.  Serves 6-8.

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