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A great, earthy, creamy starter for a special meal. The shiitake add deep, rich flavor to the soup, so do not omit them! Prep time does not include cooking the wild rice. From Sheryl and Mel London's "The Versatile Grain".
- 1 1⁄2 cups warm water
- 1 ounce dried japanese shiitake mushroom
- 1 lb fresh cultivated mushroom
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄3 cup coarsely chopped shallot (about 2 oz.)
- 1 small carrot, diced (1/2 c.)
- 1 large stalk celery, diced (1/2 c.)
- 1⁄4 lb peeled diced potato (2/3 c.)
- 3⁄4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 2 cups cooked wild rice
- 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 cup light cream
- 3 drops Tabasco sauce
- 3 tablespoons madeira wine
- snipped fresh chives (to garnish) (optional)
- In a small bowl, pour the warm water over the dried mushrooms, weighting them down so that they are completely submerged and can soak for 30 minutes. Do not discard the soaking liquid! When soaking time is up, cut off and discard the tough stems (or freeze them for making stock). Squeeze the excess liquid from the mushrooms back into the soaking liquid, then strain the liquid through a dampened coffee filter to remove any fine grit. Slice the shiitake caps into thin shreds and set them aside.
- Wipe the cultivated mushrooms with a damp towel, trim off the stems (save for stock), and slice the mushrooms thickly. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a 7-qt. Dutch oven and saute the shallots in it over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the carrots through the marjoram and cook, stirring, 2 minutes longer. Add both the mushrooms and saute, stirring, for 5 minutes (shiitake should never be eaten uncooked).
- Add the cooked rice, the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, and the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, season with salt and pepper, and stir in the tomato paste. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, then let cool slightly.
- Puree the soup in several batches in a blender or food processor. The soup should NOT be too smooth. Return pureed soup to the pot, stir in the cream, and reheat gently on low heat. Stir in the Tabasco and the Madeira, and taste to adjust seasonings. Serve hot, garnished with a few chives.