Spring Green = Delicious Soup

wild-rice-soupIt’s almost summer, things are finally green, and I’m actually excited about mowing the lawn again.  It’s a lot better than shoveling snow! Or mopping the basement floor with an old towel when the heavy early-spring rains hit and you get water in places you don’t want to get water.  Hot summer days sound pretty darned appealing right now.

With spring firmly here and summer on the way, I thought I’d usher in the growing season with a fittingly green soup.  And seeing as Michigan is the preeminent Great Lakes state (yep, we’ve got more coastline than California!), I used true wild rice in this recipe, the kind that grows along the banks of the Great Lakes and is still harvested by hand the way indigenous people have been harvesting it for thousands of years.  True wild rice is hard to find, though, so if you don’t have any on hand, use brown rice or standard wild rice instead.  (Brown rice is closer in flavor to true wild rice – cultivated wild rice has a stronger, nuttier flavor than its grassier- and milder-tasting lakeside cousin.)

Wild Rice Spring Soup
Serves 4, particularly if you include a light side such as a salad or some fresh fruit.  Recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

1 zucchini, cut into half-moons (slice it into rounds, then cut them in half)
4 oz. button, baby bella, or crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock (if it’s chicken stock, try to get stock made from free-range chicken)
8 stalks asparagus, rinsed, the tough ends snapped off, and then cut into 1″-long pieces (the more slender the asparagus, the more tender and less fibrous it will be; the bottom half of thick stalks may need to be peeled with a vegetable peeler before you cut them)
1/2 lb. green beans, rinsed, stem ends snipped off, and cut into 1″-long pieces
2 green onions, minced
1 T. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried sage
Handful of chives, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice or cooked brown rice*

Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil into a large soup pot and place over medium heat. Add zucchini and mushrooms and sautée, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are quite soft. Pour in broth and add asparagus, beans, onions, thyme, and sage. Simmer for 5 minutes. (You may have to turn the heat down once the soup begins to burble.)

Stir in chives and cooked rice. Simmer for another 5 minutes to heat the rice through.

Serve immediately, topping with grated Parmesan if desired. Leftover soup can be kept for up to five days in the refrigerator; frankly, I think it’s delicious served chilled.

Enjoy!

* It’s best to cook the rice separately, then add it to the soup – if you cook it along with the soup, you’ll have very starchy, cloudy broth rather than a clear, light-tasting spring soup.

Courtesy of Cultured Cook.

You may also like:

Mexican Salad with Sweet Lime

Getting a Jump on Fresh Herbs

Celebrating Salsa

© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan  www.Askinyourface.com LLC

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