November 26, 2007
There are a couple of explanations for why I just had to make Wild Rice Soup yesterday. Perhaps it’s because this Thanksgiving was the first I’ve ever celebrated outside of Minnesota and I was craving a homegrown taste (wild rice, after all, is Minnesota’s “State Grain”—what, you don’t know your state’s grain?). Or maybe it’s because the promise of a steamy bowl of goodness was just what I needed to ease out of a four-day weekend and into a Monday. And the fact that it was a light meal, loaded with vegetables certainly didn’t hurt after a weekend of indulgence.
If I’m really honest, though, there are a couple of other reasons for getting to the grocery store yesterday morning for wild rice, carrots, celery (the recipe doesn’t call for it, but I usually throw some in) and fresh rosemary. You see, the last time I made this soup (which, I should add, I’ve probably made 100 times) I was delighted to find a “deal” on wild rice at Whole Foods. Or so I thought. Whatever I was using was not wild rice. While it looked just like the small dark grain my home state takes pride in, it sucked most of the liquid out of my lovely soup and turned the liquid that did remain purple. Yes, purple. Soup—with the possible exception of borscht (on which I am definitely not yet sold)—is not meant to be purple. So I guess this was a bit of a mission to redeem myself.
And the final motive: leftovers. This soup is even better warmed up the next day (or, because I often double the recipe for this exact reason, the next four days). It was a beautiful sight to see this stack of lunches-in-waiting in my fridge this Monday morning:
Whatever the cause, I had a pot of this soup—one of my favorites—bubbling away by early afternoon yesterday. It was creamy (the slurry of 2% milk and flour really does impart a velvety texture to this soup, unlike most “light” creamy soup recipes) and earthy (thank you, rosemary and wild rice) and hearty. And, best of all, it wasn’t purple!
Creamy Wild-Rice Soup with Smoked Turkey
2 teaspoons butter or stick margarine*
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green onions
1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (16-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth**
1 1/2 cups chopped smoked turkey breast (1/2 pound)
1 cup uncooked wild rice
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 3/4 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons dry sherry***
1/2 teaspoon salt
Melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add carrot and next 5 ingredients (carrot through garlic). Sauté 8 minutes or until browned. Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in turkey and rice; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.
Combine flour and milk in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add to pan. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring frequently. Stir in sherry and salt.
* Because I wouldn’t touch a stick of margarine with a 10-foot pole, I tend to opt for butter here.
** I love Pacific Low-Sodium Chicken Broth. I’d love homemade even more, but, alas, I’ve yet to carve out an afternoon to give that a shot.
*** I typically omit the sherry. I do think the soup is great with a few shaves of parmesan, some slivers of green onions and several cracks of freshly ground pepper on top.