We had a busy weekend this past weekend with Stanford Homecoming and several guests in town. While we had a blast, we were pretty exhausted by the end and wanted a healthy but comforting and relatively easy dinner on Sunday night. I often make bean soups but we didn't feel like it this time so I played off of one of my other favorite kinds of soup - mushroom and wild rice - to come up with this recipe. Many mushroom wild rice soups are cream-based, but this uses vegetable broth. As the mushrooms simmer into the vegetable broth they also impart a nice earthy mushroomy flavor to the broth. This soup only calls for a few ingredients, which is great when you don't have much in the fridge. Carrots, celery, and onion are aromatics, and they are often used in soup to develop a base of flavor. They are also known as "mirepoix" in French cooking. I also used a combination of wild and brown rice in this soup - I like the two textures together. Both of these whole grains are good for you, and wild rice actually has more protein than brown rice.
This would also be a great soup for if you feel like you're coming down with a cold - it is so warming.
Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
Extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, large diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch celery, large diced
4 large carrots, large diced
6 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 c. wild rice, rinsed
1/2 c. brown basmati or jasmine rice, rinsed
16-20 oz. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
Heat 1 T. of the olive oil over medium heat in a large dutch oven or stockpot. Add the onion and garlic and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add to carrots and celery to the pot and saute for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bay leaves and bring to a low boil. Add the wild rice, brown rice, 1 t. kosher salt, and 1/2 t. pepper, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes. Add the mushroooms, re-cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occassionally. Taste for seasoning - I found that I needed an additional 1 t. salt and 1/4 t. black pepper. Discard the bay leaves and serve.
This soup was also great for leftovers. Reheat with some additional vegetable stock or water - the rice will absorb more of the liquid as it keeps.