We basked in unseasonably warm temperatures leading up to Christmas. There wasn't even enough snow to cover the ground. Since our children were traveling to spend the holiday with us, we were just fine with having a non-white Christmas. Now the days have turned cold and gray. The wind howls down from the north. Bundling up to go outside is in order. In order for everyone but Oliver that is. As much as he loves his walks, he hates his coat. He prances around in anticipation while Andrew dons his coat, hat and gloves. However, when Oliver's coat comes out of the closet, he runs off to other parts of the house--darts under tables and chairs--and has to be coaxed into the coat. Once they are off, he's fine.
Soup is definitely on the menu these days. It is such a comfort to have a pot bubbling away on the stove. This is one of our favorite soups and I've shared it with you before. It is perfect with a warm, crusty baguette and a glass of a vintage red wine.
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup wild rice
1 ounce dried mixed mushrooms
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 Tbsp butter
4 ounces fresh cremini or button mushrooms, quartered or thickly sliced
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1 medium potato, peeled and diced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half
1. Combine chicken broth and rice in a pot large enough to hold all the ingredients. Cover and simmer over medium low heat until rice is tender, about 40 minutes.
2. In the meantime, soak the mushrooms in the hot water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain the mushrooms and reserve the liquid.
3. Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the fresh mushrooms until tender and golden brown. Remove to a bowl. In the same pan, melt the remaining Tbsp of butter and add the onion. Saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and saute one minute longer.
4. Add the soaked mushrooms, the reserved liquid, the sauteed mushrooms, onion and garlic to the wild rice and chicken broth along with the potato. Cover and simmer until the potato is softened.
5. Cool slightly and roughly puree about two cups of the mixture in a blender or food processor. Return the puree to the pot and stir in the milk and half and half. Bring to a slight simmer and serve.