Monday, November 21, 2005

Thanksgiving Wild Rice Soup

Having spent 7 years living in Minneapolis, MN I have a certain familiarity with wild rice. Wild rice is something the native Ojibwe harvest using (at least) centuries old techniques that coincidentally re-seminate the rice insuring another harvest the next year. There is also a conventionally harvested, cheaper variety available just about everywhere in Minnesota. Since living there I've had a certain pride about this local foodthat's so good! Since it lasts a long time, I brought several packages with me to Italy. The problem is that most of the time, Minnesota Wild Rice Soup recipes contain things I would NEVER willingly eat. Velveeta process "cheese" food is about the most popular MN wild rice soup ingredient. My well meaning ex-roommate, Jen has a recipe handed down to her from her dad, bless his heart that's full of Velveeta and no matter how many times she offered me some of this soup, I never could muster the courage to eat it. So this time I set out for something different, a "cheese" free Wild Rice Soup! The recipes online that I found usually don't have any cheese or "cheese" but contain canned chicken broth, canned mushrooms, pieces of chicken or turkey (fine if we weren’t having turkey already) green bell peppers (blech!), and even curry powder (double blech!). So, I’ve invented an elegant wild rice soup that can be made days before and reheated just before serving. Here it is:

Elegant Thanksgiving Wild Rice Soup

2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery, leaves reserved
1 medium yellow onion
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tbsp flour
6 cups chicken stock
1 large bay leaf
3 cups cooked wild rice *(recipe follows)
1 cup diced cooked ham
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the carrots and the onion. Chop vegetables very roughly just to get them to fit in the food processor. Place in the carrot (it’s the hardest, so it needs the most time in the processor) and process briefly, follow with the celery and the onion. Process everything until you get a rough paste called a “battuto” in Italy. Place the butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Once it is melted, add the battuto of vegetables and sautee for about 5 minutes until the mixture is lightly browned and has lost most of its moisture. Then add the flour, stir constantly for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and bay leaf. Stir vigorously with a wisk to assure that the vegetable-flour mixture incorporates into the stock evenly. Bring to a boil and then continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the soup thickens. Add the cooked wild rice and the ham and continue cooking for 5 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Take out the bay leaf. Serve immediately with chopped celery leaves sprinkled on top. Alternatively, store in the fridge for 2 days or freeze indefinitely. If you store the soup, you may have to add extra water or stock to return it to its original consistency.

1 cup wild rice, rinsed
3 cups water
1 tsp salt

Boil the water with the salt. Add rice return to the boil then lower heat to the lowest setting, cover and simmer for 50-55 minutes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Susan, this kind of cooking is way out of my league. I'll be doing the plain old, plain old turkey dinner on Saturday. The wild rice soup sounds delicious.

4:03 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

View My Stats