Published January 1, 2013. From Cook's Illustrated.
For a rich, earthy, nutty-tasting soup, we had to figure out how to make its signature ingredients do more than just add bulk.
Most recipes for this soup share one common flaw: The namesake ingredients don’t play a starring role.
We wanted to keep the focus on the nutty wild rice and meaty mushrooms, and limit any additions to ingredients that could amplify their earthy flavor.
To boost the soup’s earthy flavor, we used dried shiitakes. But rather than tease out their flavor using the usual steeping and chopping method, we ground the pieces into a powder and stirred it into the broth for full-bodied mushroom flavor.
Cornstarch thickened the soup, while cooking the rice in the oven (instead of on the stovetop) made it tender with a pleasant chew. And we used the rice’s leftover cooking liquid instead of some of the water for the soup, which ensured that the flavor of the wild rice permeated the broth. We also added a pinch of baking soda to the pot of rice as it cooked, which cut down the cooking time and produced a richer, more complex cooking liquid.list of recipes