We’re getting into serious holiday indulgence time. It’s hard to resist that luscious piece of fudge, cheesy hors d’oeurves, and cups of eggnog. But those calories add up, producing unwanted pounds and New Year’s resolutions.
Since I don’t like to deprive myself at social gatherings, I try to make low calorie meals at home to keep things balanced. Soup is always a winner. It’s filling, warms you up, and often is low in calories.
WILD RICE & MUSHROOM SOUP is such a soup. It does take some time to make since wild rice needs about 45 minutes to soften, but is well worth it. I, actually, find this soup addictive – often going back for seconds and sneaking in a third later in the evening. But at about 170 calories per cupful, why not?
NOTE: In scanning the ingredients list below, you may be leery about the butter and cream involved. Don’t be! This recipe makes a LOT of soup, so the fat is diluted per cupful. The butter and cream add richness.
WILD RICE & MUSHROOM SOUP – makes 11 cups
- 8 oz (about 1 cup) wild rice, raw
- 8¼ cups water, divided
- 2¼ tsp salt, divided (I use kosher)
- 1 clove garlic, whole & peeled
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 4 T butter, salted
- 1 lb crimini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 2/3 cup sherry
- 1 T soy sauce
- 1/4 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest, packed
- 1/4 cup chives, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
Into an ovenproof saucepan or tall sided casserole bowl, stir together 4 cups of the water (you can boil it first to speed things along), rice, 3/4 tsp of the salt, the whole garlic clove, baking soda, and thyme. Cover and cook in the oven at 375º F for about 40-45 minutes. Taste test the rice after 40 minutes to see if it’s done. Remember, it’s not like soft white rice – there’s a chew to wild rice.
While the rice is cooking, prepare the mushrooms. In a skillet, melt butter. Turn flame up to medium high and add the mushrooms, pressed garlic, tomato paste, pepper, and the remaining 1½ tsp of salt. Uncovered, bring to low boil, and cook off all the liquid. This takes about 15 minutes.
When rice is done, pour through a strainer that’s placed over a container. You want to save the water. Add enough additional water to equal 3 cups total. Remove and discard the garlic.
When mushrooms are done, pour in the sherry and cook for 2 minutes.
Put the dried shiitake mushrooms into a blender and grind them into a powder on high.
Into a large saucepan (this could be the saucepan you used to cook the rice), combine the mushroom/sherry mixture, ground shiitakes, soy sauce, 4 cups water, and the 3 cups rice water. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Make a slurry by stirring together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water to make a paste. (Don’t do this ahead of time – it becomes hard). Slowly whisk slurry into the soup. Add in drained rice, lemon zest, chives, and cream. Correct seasoning, if needed. Cover and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Heat and serve.