Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wild Rice Soup

I know, I haven't posted a new recipe in ages. I've been in something of a dinner rut, I guess. My kids are so picky that it's just easier to make their favorites again and again. But, BUT, last night I made a third attempt to imitate the wild rice soup my Minnesotan friend is always wistfully raving about, and I think I nailed it. I looked at a few different recipes on line, but they all included one or more ingredients my picky friend dislikes, and I tend to use recipes more as inspiration anyway. It's hard to emulate something you've never actually eaten, but she seemed happy, and all the adults plus half the children loved it, so I'm declaring it a success. The secret turned out to be a roux.

1/4 cup butter
1/2 onion, minced fine
about 1/2 cup ham, chopped fairly small
aprox 1/4 cup flour
1 box (or equivalent) chicken broth
2 boxes seasoned wild rice
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half

First, go ahead and cook both boxes of rice together as the package directs. I thought this seemed dumb at first, but it will save time and keep your broth proportions right. Meanwhile, in bottom of a Dutch oven, melt butter. Add onion and cook a few minutes, until soft. Add ham and sautee a couple more minutes. Sprinkle flour over a little at a time and stir as it soaks up the butter. Continue cooking and stirring over medium heat for a couple minutes, but don't brown the roux. Now add the chicken broth a little at a time, stirring constantly. This will first form a thick paste with the roux, which will get thinner as you add more broth. Once all the broth is in there, let it cook, stirring occasionally. You don't really want a rolling boil, more of a bubbling simmer. When the rice seems about done, dump it all into the broth mixture and stir to incorporate. Turn heat to low and stir in cream, heating just another minute or two without boiling. Voila! Serve with warm garlic breadsticks for dipping.

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