If only my mother could see me now…she would be so proud to see me making a soup like this. She was a big health nut and an excellent cook. To say I was picky, is an understatement. I remember one time I threw my peas all over the floor thinking they would disperse and no one would notice. I had all kinds of tricks up my sleeves. Even though I was a huge pain in the ass, my parents persisted with feeding me healthy food and now I crave it! So, thank you both!!! This recipe I found in the beautiful book Vegetable Soups by: Deborah Madison. Here it is…
3/4 cup wild rice, preferably traditional hand-harvested rice
1/2 tsp salt
1 small onion
2 small leeks, white parts only, sliced in rounds separated and rinsed well
1 or 2 carrots, sliced diagonally 1/2 inch thick
1 small russet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 small celery root, peeled and diced
2 celery ribs, peeled if stringy and cut into long diagonals
1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded, a few fronds reserved, the bulb sliced lengthwise about 1/2 inch thick
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2 tbs flour
1/2 cup cream or milk
a few tbs minced celery and/or fennel leaves
1. Rinse the rice, then add it to a pot with 6 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer, covered, until the grains have started to burst and are chewy, about 30 min. Pour the liquid off and set aside to use in soup. Re-cover the pot and set aside to steam.
2. Peel, trim and cut veggies, making the pieces attractive and on the large size.
3. Melt the butter in a wide soup pot, add the veggies, and give them a stir. Cook over medium heat for several minutes, then add 1/2 tsp salt and the flour. Pour in the reserved rice-cooking liquid plus water to make 7 cups. Simmer until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 min. If you want the soup to be a little thicker, puree a cup or two of the veggies and return to the pot.
4. Add the rice and stir in the cream. Taste for salt and add more if needed. Season with pepper and serve with a generous sprinkling of minced celery or fennel leaves.
Oh, and I added mushrooms, which I recently discovered are delicious. I like all veggies, which means I’m a real grownup now!