With all the rain, at the close of the week, I had my first serious craving for the warmth of a good soup. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, wild rice soup is one of my all-time favorites. The sherry reduction just takes this soup to another level. Of course, in my opinion, dry sherry always elevates a good dish.
As soups go there seems to be a set standard for many households: chili, chicken noodle, vegetable, beefy noodle soups, tomato and often seafood chowders. Because I like them so much I’m always on the look-out for something different.
In a few more weeks I’ll debut a brand new soup recipe that has been receiving some fantastic comments at Silver Dollar City. This particular wild rice soup was written about 2-3 years ago and before it there were 2-3 other versions of wild rice soup.
Pieces of steak and chicken add to the flavor, but I also like the earthy taste of the mushroom in the recipe. If you don’t care for the flavor of the sherry drop back to a dry chardonnay for a gentler take.
Often when we entertain in our homes we focus on big meals and lots of embellishment. This week we had our friends, Willis & Irene, over for dinner. We served a flavorful salad and hearty beef stew, biscuits and chocolate chip cookies. Personally I thought it was great, until I realized I was out of decaf coffee! I ‘always’ have an over-abundance of coffee on hand, but this time I was high and dry! I enjoyed the evening so very much. Yes, the guests were wonderful, but it was the ease of the meal that was also made the evening comfortable.
I know I continually preach about the need to entertain in our homes, but it’s true. Take this wild rice soup for example. It could be used as a main entrée or an opener to a wild game supper. A light sandwich would pair with it or a hearty chartucherie* board filled with yummy samples.
Get out of the rut and make a difference in the lives of your friends and neighbors. Indulge yourself in a nicely decorated table, good music, wine and quality fare and it doesn’t get much better. If you have to deliver it to someone who isn’t as mobile as yourself, take all the special touches with you. In the event some of you are already inspired to spread the warmth, send me a story about your successful event. The readers would love to hear how it’s working.
Call me when the soup’s ready. Simply yours, The Covered Dish. wwwthecovereddish.com
*Charcuterie: ‘A branch of cooking.’
French pronunciation: ‘shar coo tree’
Smoked and cured meats, cheeses, condiments, pickles, jams, crackers, breads and spreads.
Wild Rice Soup
3 tablespoons salted butter
1 small onion, diced fine
1 red pepper, finely diced
6-8 ounces chopped mushrooms of choice
2/3 cup wild rice
2/3 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup dry sherry
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup flour
1 cup additional chicken stock
1 cup finely diced cooked chicken or turkey breast
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon savory spice
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon horseradish
1/4 cup additional sherry
1 cup heavy cream
Optional: Shredded smoked Gouda or green onions for garnish
Over medium heat place a large sauté pan or Dutch oven. Melt butter in pan of choice and add all vegetables, cooking until tender. Add rice and sauté until white rice is translucent. Add sherry and reduce before adding 6 cups of chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil, lower to a simmer, cooking for an additional 20-25 minutes. Cover the pan with a lid during a large portion of the cooking time. When rice is tender make a slurry with the 1/4 cup of flour and additional 1 cup of chicken stock. Blend into dish, cooking until thickened.
Add diced chicken, all spices & horseradish. Gradually add 1/4 cup of sherry and continue stirring. Lastly add 1 cup of heavy cream and cook until heated through.
After cooling the soup firms up substantially. For reheating use chicken stock or additional cream. Yields approximately 7 cups of hearty soup. Should yield 5-7 portions.