Last Saturday, two days after Thanksgiving, I had had my fill of leftover turkey sandwiches. I had a hankering for something different. After taking inventory of my pantry, fridge and freezer, I saw that I had the ingredients on hand to make wild rice soup.
But the thought of that soup left my tastebuds wanting. I had just gone through two days of eating turkey....perhaps the blandest meat on earth. My Byerly's recipe for Wild Rice Soup called for minced ham, but alas, my cupboards were bare of minced ham. And I wasn't about to make a trip to the store for another bland meat.
I had an ample supply of turkey, but I refused to put that in my soup. In the very back of my meat drawer, I had uncovered a pound of Applewood Smoked Bacon. Now wild rice soup made with bacon sounded like a real winner! And was it ever. It was the best wild rice soup I have ever had.
My pantry was stocked with a few cans of cooked wild rice. By using pre-cooked wild rice, I could shave 35 minutes off of the prep time. This meant that from start to finish, my meal would be ready in less than 15 minutes. I was also happy to find a loaf of parmesan garlic bread...I absolutely have to dunk when I have soup. This recipe yields two large, entree bowls or four, small, cup servings.
1/2 pound applewood smoked bacon*, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
5 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of finely minced onion
1/2 cup of flour
3 cups of chicken broth
2 cups of cooked wild rice
1/2 cup matchstick carrots
3 tablespoons of slivered almonds
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup Half and Half
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon minced chives (for garnish)
*This is an ingredient crucial to the smoky taste of the soup. I would definitely make sure you only use Applewood Smoked Bacon.
- Cook bacon in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat until it is crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow bacon to rest on a paper towel. Drain pan of bacon fat, leaving one tablespoon of fat in the pan.
- Turn heat down to medium. Add butter to bacon fat. When butter has melted, add onions and sauté until tender.
- Blend in flour. Gradually add broth while stirring.
- Cook, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
- Stir in rice, bacon, carrots, salt and almonds. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Blend in Half and Half and Sherry. Heat to serving temperature.
- Serve soup, garnished with chives.
Wine pairing: Bacon and Pinot Noir are perhaps the greatest combination in heaven or on earth.