Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cream(less) Mushroom & Wild Rice Soup


This vegan version of cream of mushroom and wild rice soup is based on the recipe recently published in Cooks Illustrated magazine January/February 2013. I love their scientific approach to cooking and have learned a great deal from the techniques and tips they publish. I highly recommend a subscription especially if, like me, you like to experiment since they go to great lengths to test and document what worked, what didn't, and why.

Honestly, I am not a big mushroom fan but for some reason as winter is setting in, I thought this soup looked mighty satisfying and it seemed the recipe might be easy to convert to vegan. Turned out I was right and the entire family agreed, so it has earned its place on the blog simply because everyone voted that they would like to eat it again. So here it is, my vegan version of Cook's Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup.

4 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon thyme
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, chopped fine
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup wild rice

Heat oven to 375-degrees. Combine all the above ingredients except rice in a medium-sized oven safe saucepan and heat on top of stove to a boil. Add rice and return to boil, cover pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 35-50 minutes until rice is tender.

4 Tablespoons margarine
1 1/2 pounds cremini/button/baby bella mushrooms mixed, trimmed and sliced
4-5 medium shallots or 1 small onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
2/3 cup dry sherry
1/4 ounce dried shitake or oyster mushrooms, ground fine using spice blender
6 cups water
2 Tablespoons Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup non-dairy creamer
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup minced fresh chives/parsley or both
Squeeze of fresh lemon

While the rice cooks, melt margarine in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Saute shallots and garlic, and add mushrooms with tomato paste until a fond begins to form on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze the pan with the sherry and soy sauce, scraping the fond from the bottom of the pan and simmer, reducing the liquid until the pan is nearly dry.

Remove from heat to wait for rice to finish cooking. When rice is cooked, strain excess liquid into soup, reserving rice (discard the bay leaf.) Add the ground mushrooms, water, Better than Bouillon, and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add almond milk. In a small bowl mix the non-dairy creamer and corn starch together until no lumps are visible. Add the rice and cornstarch mixture and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add green herbs and a squeeze of lemon. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a crusty, hearty bread.

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