Wild rice is the state grain of Minnesota. For hundreds of years wild rice was a staple food for the Chippewa and the Sioux. They harvested rice from canoes and used long sticks to shake the grain into boats. Some Native Americans still raise and harvest rice this way. However, most wild rice is raised by farmers and harvested with giant combines.
Wild rice is high in protein and low in fat. A little goes a long way. One cup of uncooked rice makes about three cups of cooked rice. You can add flavor by cooking the rice in beef, chicken, or vegetable stock. The rice tastes best when slightly crunchy, so keep track of the time. Overcooked rice is mushy and looks like popcorn.
Minnesotans love wild rice. We make wild rice pancakes, breads, salads, soups, side dishes, and desserts. Recently I bought some bratwurst with wild rice and it was delicious. I love wild rice with dried cranberries, caramelized onions, and orange zest . One day, though, I hankered for a steaming bowl of wild rice soup.
Fortunately, I had leftover wild rice and chicken on hand. The other ingredients came from the vegetable bin, freezer and pantry. Since I had made wild rice soup before I was familiar with the method. You may eliminate the sherry if you wish, but it gives give the soup added punch of flavor. Cubed ham may be substituted for chicken. Minnesota Wild Rice Soup with Chicken, Fresh Mushrooms and Sherry is a meal in a bowl.
2 cups cooked wild rice (cooked al dente)
1 1/2 tablespoons butter (or margarine)
1 1/2 tablespoons light olive oil
2 cooked chicken breast halves, cubed
1 carton (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup frozen chopped onions
6 ounces (half a package) petite carrots
1/2 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, snipped
1 32-ounce carton chicken stock
3 packets very low sodium chicken bullion
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) low sodium mushroom soup
2 soup cans of water (more if needed)
Prepare wild rice and chicken the day before. Refrigerate.
Melt butter with olive oil in a soup kettle. Saute mushrooms over high heat until slightly brown. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes. Just before serving add 1/4 cup very dry sherry to soup. Makes 8-10 servings.