The Midwestern Gentleman used to have an amazing recipe (or so he claims) for a creamy chicken and wild rice soup. He has been talking about this soup, longing for it, searching for a comparable recipe, for the past three years. I’ve never been a huge fan of cream-based soups, which means they are a genre I haven’t tinkered with much, so I never put any serious effort into trying to recreate his long-lost recipe. Until now. Nothing makes you crave a thing like knowing you can never have it again! The funny thing is, the vegan trick of pureeing soaked raw cashews to create “cream” based soups and sauces actually tastes far better to my palate than true cream sauces ever have, and this soup is no exception. As written, this recipe is a meaty version, but you can very easily make this soup vegan by leaving out the meat and using vegetable broth in place of chicken or beef broth. Wild rice is a low-glycemic aquatic grass (no gluten!), which makes it perfect for an anti-inflammatory diet.
The Gent is delighted to have a delicious, creamy wild rice soup back on the menu as Fall approaches, and it turns out I am, too!
Creamy Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
3/4 cup raw cashews
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup wild rice, rinsed
4 cups water
salt to taste
1 lb crimini or button mushrooms
1 red onion
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Madeira
1/2 lb. ground turkey or bison
4 cups chicken or beef broth
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Soak the cashews in cold water for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, simmer the wild rice in 4 cups of salted water (partially covered) until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain any remaining water.
Chop the mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup chopped onion, all of the garlic, and 1 cup chopped mushrooms. Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms release their juices. Add 1/4 cup Madeira and simmer until the wine is reduced to almost nothing. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
In a skillet, brown the meat over medium-high heat. Set the meat aside. In the same skillet, heat a few more tablespoons of olive oil and cook the remaining mushrooms and onions with a little salt and 1/2 tsp of dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh).
Drain the cashews and combine with the Madeira-mushrooms mixture and 1 cup of broth in a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix) or a food processor, and puree until very smooth. Slowly add the rest of the broth.
Combine the browned meat, mushroom and onion mixture, wild rice, and soup base in a large soup pot and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low until heated throughout. Serve garnished with a drizzle of porcini-infused olive oil, if desired. Serves 4 as a hearty entree portion.