Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Soups on, again!

Yes, I am about to do it again... get excited about soup, that is. I think my soup thing started as my babies grew to be toddlers and I was introduced to the world of picky eaters. Thankfully, I discovered early on that soups are an amazing opportunity to introduce veggies and even meat to kids who's taste buds are hyper sensitive and would rather not chew on something for hours. Sure it's messy for them to attempt to eat on their own, but who cares if you have to help feed them for just a little longer. Don't worry, this won't turn into a habit, as I don't know of any teenager or adult that would like their mommy to spoon feed them still! Every time a mom asks me what they should feed their finicky eater, without hesitation, I proclaim, Soup! Who doesn't love Cream of Broccoli? Or soft cooked carrots who's nutrients have made their way into a beautiful broth? Soup can be a balanced meal, too - protein can be delivered in so many different ways. Think beans, meat, poultry and dairy.

As the kids grow older, we can make soups a little more sophisticated, check out this Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup. We enjoy it quite often at our house. The wild rice is a little time consuming, however the rest is very simple to put together. Round this out with good bread and butter - stunning!
A gentle reminder to get your recipe entries in - just 5 more days to go until deadline!

Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup
Serves 6
1/2 cup wild rice, washed and drained - use a fine mesh sieve to drain the rice, if you have one
3 cups water
90g butter
100g Onion, chopped fine
150g carrot, cut into small cubes
70g flour
900ml chicken stock
30g butter
200g mushrooms, sliced
300ml milk, hot
to taste salt and white pepper
150ml heavy cream hot - optional
handful of finely chopped parsley

Place the washed rice with the 3 cups of water in a small saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Take off the heat and let stand for another 20 - 30 minutes, until rice is tender. Drain and set aside.
Once you have boiled the rice, and it is now sitting off the burner, heat the butter in a large stock pot over low - medium heat.
Add the onion and carrot and saute for about 5 minutes, until just starting to become tender.
(Do not brown.)
Add the flour. Stir to combine (this is called a roux) and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes, stirring, but do not allow to get brown.
Gradually add the chicken stock, whisking to blend into the roux. Bring to a boil, continually whisking until thickened.
Lower the heat, allow the soup to gently simmer until there is no taste of raw flour, about 5 minutes.
If you are using home made chicken stock, you will need to skim the soup at this point - all this means is to skim the white bubbles off the top.
While the soup is simmering, heat the butter in a saute pan on medium heat and and add the mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes or until tender, then add them to the soup.
Stir the hot milk into the soup, and add the cooked and drained rice. Simmer for a couple of minutes, to heat through.
Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
Ladle into bowls and top with a swirl of hot cream (if using - I don't always do this) and top with a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley.

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