Saturday, 16 March 2013

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

Guest post from Jar Head:

Cold dark winter nights call out for a hearty soup. This soup definitely is the ticket, the earthy, meaty flavours that the wild rice and mushrooms will stick to your bones and warm you up from within.

What you will need for the rice:
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda *
  • 3/4 tsp salt
* Baking soda breaks down the pectin seed coating of the rice and also lowers the temperature necessary for Maillard reaction (browning) to occur. This leads to a nuttier tasting wild rice and a deep brown more complex stock which we will use to enrich the soup.

What you will need for the soup:
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 600-700 grams of cremini mushrooms
  • 1 leak chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2/3 cup brown ale (such as a Belgian Dubbel like St. Bernardus Prior 8)
  • 4 cups low sodium broth
  • 4 TBSP dried mushroom powder (we used a mixture of cremini, matsutake, chicken of the woods and bear's tooth mushrooms)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup minced chives or green onions
  • 1 TBSP umami paste (can be substituted with 1 TBSP tomato paste or 1/2 TBSP anchovy paste)
  • pepper
Start with making the rice. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bring the water, bay leaf, salt and baking soda to a boil over medium-high heat in a stock pot. Add the rice and return to a boil. Cover and transfer to the heated oven and bake until rice is tender - approximately 35-50 minutes.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer and reserve the liquid which we will use for our soup. Top up the liquid with water until you have 3 cups.

For the soup, first make a slurry of cornstarch and 4 TBSP of the stock you plan to use - set aside for later use. Next melt the butter over medium high heat in large stock pot. Do this next part in stages, add the mushrooms, garlic and leaks to form a small layer on the bottom of the pan and sauté until browned - feel free to use the ale to deglaze as needed. Remove the mushrooms from the pot once browned and start with a fresh batch, continue until all the mushrooms are browned. Return the cooked mushrooms back to the pot and add in the stock, remaining ale, mushroom powder, thyme and umami paste and bring to a hard simmer. Add the cooked rice and the cornstarch slurry and stir until the soup thickens. Stir in the sour cream and serve topped with green onions.

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup Beer Pairing: A dark brown ale works best here with the meaty flavours of the mushrooms. We went with the St. Bernardus Prior 8 which is a strong abby Belgian dubbel which we also used for deglazing the pot.

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