Wednesday, January 26, 2011

For the Perennially Hungry

I got home toward late tonight, after working until the eleventh hour to try to pick up some slack, with the aim of making soup for dinner.  I came up with this soup du jour, a rather unassuming one-pot meal which seems to have a sort of snowball effect.  (It seems to finally be rounding off now, after about six bowls.) If you find yourself feeling the need for a little mid-winter pick-me-up, this might be just the thing:

Wild rice soup with mushrooms, squash and nettles 

1+ tbsp butter
1 c yellow onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced, about 4 c
1 small butternut or other winter squash, cubed, about 5 c
1 c wild rice, rinsed well
1 1/2 quarts water, or so
1 tbsp Better Than Bouillon mushroom soup base (or sub veg or chicken bouillon or broth)
1/4 tsp sea salt
black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp ground sage
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp chevre (blue fuzzy parts removed)
2/3 c or one healthy handful of dried nettles, slightly crushed (if you don't have nettles I wouldn't sub other greens here; dried nettles have a magical way of not exerting a heavy "green" flavor, while still contributing all their leafy mineral-rich goodness.)

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed soup pot, and throw in the onions, followed by the garlic. Saute over med heat for a minute or two and salt generously.  Add the celery, saute for a couple minutes more and then add the mushrooms, a few hearty shakes of salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cook until the mushrooms have just begun to release their juices, then add the thyme and sage, along with the the water, bay leaf and bouillon.  Add the rice, stir well, cover and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and let simmer for 15 min, or until rice is half-cooked (time will vary depending on where your rice came from...'round here the White Earth variety is fine-grained and tender-hulled, so cooks quickly).  Add the squash and cook for another 5-10 min, until tender.  Stir in the sour cream and chevre, along with the nettles, cover and let stand for 5 min before serving. 


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