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Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

April 14, 2011

In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle author Barbara Kingsolver calls February-March “Hungry Month.” I think that up here in the northern states, April can be included in the “Hungry Month” description as well. Even though there is little snow on the ground, few eatable things are growing.

Our wild onions are still last year’s green, the oregano is still sleeping, and even the dandelions are not springing up yet. (Dandelions are eatable.) I’ve seen a lot of wild violets, however, and (just in case you didn’t know), wild violets–both the blossoms and the leaves–are eatable. I think I’ll pick some to put in a salad.

Michigan, however, is a state known for morel mushrooms. People hunt for these mushrooms and they are quite prized. This is not anything I have ever done, although I would love to. The closest I’ve ever come is that several years ago, a neighbour thought that she found a morel in her yard. She gave it to me and I looked it up online. It was, it seemed, a true black morel, so I cooked it and we ate it. I was right. It was good and I’ve been hoping that she would find more in years since. Here’s a great Michigan resource for morels: www.MichiganMorels.com.

If you have morels, or just purchased some mushrooms at the grocery store, the following is a terrific recipe. Did you know that wild rice is the only grain native to North America?

Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup

3/4 C. wild rice

7 C. stock, vegetable or chicken

1/3 C. long-grain brown rice

rosemary, dried or fresh, a generous sprinkling

2 T. olive oil

1 med. onion, chopped

2 large carrots, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

3 T. butter or olive oil

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced

2 C. half & half (or whole milk if you prefer)

1/4 C. chopped fresh parsley

1 C. white wine, optional

salt & pepper, to taste

Wash wild rice thoroughly. In a large pot, bring stock to a boil. Add wild rice, brown rice, and rosemary. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour or until rice is tender. While rice is cooking, chop vegetables. Saute onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil for about 10 minutes. When rice is tender, add vegetables to rice. Puree 2 C. vegetable-rice mixture. Return pureed mixture to pot. Saute mushrooms in butter or oil. Puree half of the mushrooms with half and half (or milk). Add to pot. Add remaining mushrooms, parsley, wine, and salt & pepper. Simmer, uncovered, until heated through, but do not let boil.

(My husband, who has traditionally not liked mushrooms, really enjoyed this soup.)

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