Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Happy Snow Day Recipe

We did not actually get a snow day today here--all the dramatic lead-up (and New York does drama and anxiety in preparation for snow like nowhere I've ever seen before), and then we only ended up getting around 9 inches. And after the disaster that was the snowstorm a few weeks ago, city governments apparently figured out how snowplows work and got things cleaned up. But it did snow, and therefore it was a perfect day for making soup!

Wild rice soup is a favorite of both Carrie and me, so I thought I'd share our recipe with you. Both of our moms had slightly different recipes, and we've incorporated bits from each into our version.

Note: if you don't live in Minnesota or Wisconsin, wild rice may be tricky to find or obscenely expensive at your average grocery store. But I have good news--Trader Joe's sells it for a completely reasonable price! As an alternative, you could wait to see if Carrie's mom brings you some the next time she visits, but I think that's probably not the most reliable plan for most of you. If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, I am truly sorry.

Wild Rice Soup
Makes 4-6 servings

2 cups cooked wild rice (2/3 cup uncooked)
5 Tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
pinch of pepper
pinch of turmeric
2 bay leaves
1 cup diced ham
1 cup half and half

Cook the wild rice first; it takes about an hour total, so you'll want to start this a little in advance of the rest of the soup. I generally use about three parts water to one part rice, so 2/3 cup rice and 2 cups water (this leaves a little extra water in the pan at the end, but you can either drain it off or just pour it into the soup with the rice). Put rice and water in a pan and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 45-55 minutes or until most of the rice kernels have popped.

Melt butter in a sauce pan and sautee the onion and carrots until tender. Blend in flour. Slowly add broth stirring constantly (A whisk helps at this point to keep the flour from getting lumpy). Keep stirring until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in pepper, turmeric, and bay leaves.

Add ham and cooked rice. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir in half and half and heat to serving temperature. Don't forget to remove bay leaves before serving!

We usually make a double batch of this--the leftovers are delicious! If you double it, make sure you use a stock pot or dutch oven because it's a lot of soup.

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