Morel Mushroom Soup with wild rice! If you're lucky enough to get your hands on that elusive wild delicacy - morel mushrooms - you can turn them into this heavenly soup, loaded with wild rice and swimming in a light, creamy broth. And if you can't find morels, even button mushrooms will taste fantastic when you bring out their flavour with a touch of allspice, thyme, and balsamic vinegar - unusual, but oh, so irresistible. (Skip to recipe.)
It's been mushroom picking time again! Last month my friend, Alex, dropped off a few handfuls of the first Verpa Bohemicas and we licked our lips over Mushrooms on Toast. A couple weeks later, she called me up and asked if I wanted to go hunting for Black Morels (or Fire Morels) with her. Well . . . there was a Margaret-shaped hole in the door as I grabbed my pail and charged over. Did I want to go mushroom picking? Of course, I wanted to go mushroom picking!
There's something so satisfying and fulfilling about traipsing through the bush, ducking under low branches, scrambling through thick, tangly underbrush, stumbling over logs, ripping clothes, sliding down embankments, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, boots full of burrs, twigs tangled in hair, scratches on hands and face. Heck, that's all just pure unadulterated fun, and all so worthwhile when you've got this to show for it: a treasured hoard of alien-looking, wrinkled, brown, earthy little fungi . . . morels . . . the elusive morels, the mushroom hunter's holy grail.
Morels like to grow in areas after a fire, and this piece of land was burned out decades ago, but there were still a few of the wrinkly little treasures poking their heads up through the leaves.
Once I got the bounty home, I rinsed the mushrooms, chopped them, and turned them into a host of fantastic treats. We had Mushrooms on Toast, Steak and Mushrooms (recipe coming) and I made three batches of this delicious soup. It was absolutely fantastic. To get the most out of my beautiful pile of morels and make them stretch a little further, I added a handful of regular cremini mushrooms to each batch of soup.
I chopped up the regular mushrooms and the morel stems, along with some onions, celery, garlic, and spices, sautéed and simmered it, then finished it all off with the sliced morel caps and a good splash of rich cream.
And then we feasted on this pot of creamy morel mushroom gloriousness.
We savoured each spoonful. The broth of this soup is not thick like traditional mushroom soup; it's thin, creamy, and light - so perfect for letting the earthiness of the morels and the nuttiness of the wild rice shine and be the stars of the soup show.
I've got one precious batch of that magnificent morel mushroom soup stashed in the freezer; saving it for a rainy day when I want to transport myself back to our mushroom picking adventure. That was a day of forest fun I won't forget!
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Kitchen Frau Notes: Of course, if you're lucky enough to have a few morel mushrooms in your possession, you're a winner! But even if you have to make this soup with mushrooms 'foraged' in the aisles of the grocery store, the soup still turns out fantastically. A selection of different mushrooms works well here, too. I like to chop the stems of mushrooms, and tear the caps into small, irregular-sized pieces for a more casual look to this soup. The touch of allspice in this soup really enhances the mushrooms' flavour.
Wild rice is native to Canada and has a most gloriously nutty flavour. It is quite expensive. If you don't have wild rice, you could substitute it with long grain brown rice, red rice, or a wild rice blend.
If you can't find gluten free Worcestershire sauce, a combination of gluten free soy sauce or tamari plus balsamic vinegar makes a good substitute.
- ½ cup (90gms) wild rice
- 2 cups (480ml) water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup (120gms) diced onion
- 1 cup diced celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- 4 cups (300gms) morel mushrooms, or a combination of morels and button mushrooms, or other mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (or ½ tablespoon gluten free soy sauce + ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar)
- 4 cups beef or mushroom broth
- 1 cup whipping cream/heavy cream
Cook the wild rice with the water: bring it to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until the grains are split and tender. Drain.
While the rice is cooking, heat the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the onions and celery in the butter until translucent, about 5 minutes. If using morel mushrooms, slice the caps crosswise and set them aside (you can leave a few caps whole as a garnish). Chop the stems and chop (or tear with your fingers) any button mushrooms you are using. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, allspice, thyme, and chopped morel stems and/or chopped button mushrooms to the onions and celery. Cook for 5 more minutes.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, the drained, cooked wild rice, and the beef or mushroom stock. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer the soup for 10 minutes. Add the sliced morel tops, then simmer 5 more minutes.
Add the cream, remove from the heat, and serve.
Makes 7½ cups of mushroom soup, serving 4 to 6.
*To freeze this soup, prepare it up to the point of adding the cream, freeze it without the cream, then thaw it, reheat, add the cream and serve.
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