Both elegant and comforting, this is a rich soup perfect for cold days and dinner parties. The small-batch recipe won’t leave you drowning in a giant vat of soup (and it scales easily if you need more!).

Small-Batch Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup

Once upon a time, many years ago, I hosted a dinner party, and I made a version of this soup. Dear Reader, it was heavenly. Somehow comforting and elegant at the same time, and so rich and flavorful. My guests loved it. While I thought about it often, I never made it again, because it was such a pain in the ass to make. This Small-Batch Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup has the wonderful flavors that I remember, but it’s easier to make and uses more readily available ingredients.

Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup on a spoon in the foreground. The bowl and a pitcher of cream, along with the burner for the soup pot are visible in the background

Grinding dried mushrooms is the worst

This was a popular soup recipe, for good reason, and several versions of mushroom and wild rice soup floated around on the internet, including on Martha Stewart (no longer available on the site) and NYT Cooking. They call for the same thing—grinding up dried mushrooms in a small food processor. While the end result is so delicious, it can make an unholy mess, and heaven help you if you accidentally get some of the dust up your nose (I had the same problem with Roast Mushroom Pâté). I hated it, and I just decided that I wouldn’t do it anymore.

Enter porcini powder

I could have cried when I discovered dried porcini powder on the shelves of my old spice shop in Cambridge. With all of the work done for me, Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup was back on the menu (as was the pâté)! Hurrah!

If you don’t have a spice shop nearby, porcini powder is readily available online. I have it in my Kitchen Shop as well. It’s a great addition to pasta dishes.

What is wild rice?

The wild rice in this soup adds a wonderful texture and the nutty flavor pairs beautifully with the earthy mushrooms. While it can sometimes be hard to find, I’ve kept it in here, as I don’t think that brown rice is as good.

Wild rice, which isn’t actually rice at all, is an aquatic grass that is native to North America and parts of China. Indigenous populations in what is now Minnesota and Wisconsin used wild rice as a staple crop, and it continues to be an important part of Chippewa culture.

Wild rice keeps

Most commercially available wild rice is a cultivated version of this ancient grain. Kept dry, wild rice will keep nearly forever. It’s excellent in pilafs, and I just might share a recipe for it on here sometime soon. If you’re having a hard time finding wild rice in the grocery store (I did), it is also available online, and I’ve added it to my Kitchen Shop.

Cook the wild rice first

You’ll cook the wild rice first, as it takes about 45–50 minutes to fully cook. It should lose the crunchiness, but keep its interesting texture, and some of the grains will burst. It’s easier if you cook this in more water than you’ll need, so be prepared to drain off the excess.  You’ll have a bit more than you need. I like the leftovers in salads for a nice texture.

Prepared leeks and mushrooms for wild rice & mushroom soup. The mushrooms are in a stainless steel bowl, and the leeks are in a smaller glass bowl on a worn wooden table

About the mushrooms

There’s a lot of mushrooms in this soup. You can get creative with the varieties, and the better the mushrooms, the more tasty this will be, but I’ve used mushrooms from the grocery store here, cremini, shitake, and oyster. Do avoid white button mushrooms, as they will not give you the depth of flavor, even with the dried porcini powder.

Brown in batches

You’ll brown the mushrooms in batches in the pot you’ll use to make the soup. I use a bigger pot here in order to maximize the surface area. You could use a smaller pot, but you might want to break up the batches into thirds, instead of two batches as called for here. What looked like a mountain of mushrooms will cook down.

Sweat leeks in butter

If you’ve followed along this blog, you may have noticed that I’m a big fan of sweating alliums, and this is no exception. This gives the soup a nice base to start from that sautéing doesn’t do. You’ll do this in the same pot you used to brown the mushrooms, so be sure to allow that pot to cool a bit before you begin. Don’t be shy about sweating them, but keep an eye on it, you want low and slow, not hissing and popping.

Once the leeks have softened, you’ll remove the cover and sprinkle the porcini powder over them. Cook that for about a minute.

Swapping sherry for white wine

I love a good glass of sherry, but I don’t tend to have a bottle lying around. Sherry in this recipe is amazing—the nuttiness adds to the soup—but white wine works very well indeed, and it’s a little easier to lay your hands on. If you happen to have sherry on hand, use it. Otherwise, keep the trips to the store to a minimum and just use a dry white wine.

You’ll add the white wine to the leeks and porcini powder, along with some soy sauce for extra umami, and then cook that down for about a minute or so.

Add mushrooms, stock, and herbs

You’ll then add the mushrooms back to the pan, cover with stock, and add herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about twenty minutes or so, and the soup is ready.

Bullion is fine here, and I used Better than Bullion to make this, using about half the called for amount to keep things from getting to salty.

Serving, small-batch style

If you are serving this soup all at once, you’ll just add the wild rice and cream to the soup, heat through, and serve garnished with chopped parsley. However, if you’re like me, and serving this a bowl at a time, then you’ll want to keep the rice, cream, and parsley separate. Add rice to the bowl (make sure that it’s hot), and then garnish with cream and parsley. This keeps everything fresh.

And there you have it, Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup is a keeper. Let me know if you make it and what you think!

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Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup on a spoon in the foreground. The bowl and a pitcher of cream, along with the burner for the soup pot are visible in the background

Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup

This soup manages to be elegant and comforting at the same time, and it's one of my favorite soups. Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup is based off of a popular recipe, versions of it exist on NYT Cooking and Martha Stewart.
We're making a small batch here and taking advantage of porcini powder instead of making a mess by grinding it in a food processor. I've also swapped out the sherry for white wine, as I tend not to have a bottle of sherry on hand. If you do, I envy you. Use it here.
You can get creative with the mushroom assortment here. Button mushrooms, however, will not give the depth of flavor we're looking for.
Cook the wild rice ahead of making the soup, or, at the very least get a good jump on it, as it will take about 50 minutes. You can cook the wild rice up to a day ahead. This makes a bit more wild rice than you need.
I use a large Dutch Oven for the soup because it has a large surface area to brown the mushrooms. You can use a smaller one, but you'll need to brown the mushrooms in 3 batches instead of 2.
For leftovers, I recommend keeping the wild rice, cream, and parsley separate until you're ready to serve it.
If you need a full batch, or more, you can use the multiplier provided.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings

Equipment

  • 1 pot with lid, bottom wide enough to accommodate cooking the mushrooms in 2 batches I used a 4-quart Le Creuset Dutch oven for this
  • 1 small pot with lid to cook the wild rice I used Le Creuset

Ingredients
  

For the wild rice (makes extra)

For the soup

  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • ¾ pound assorted mushrooms like cremini, oyster, and shitake, sliced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • 2 small leeks, white and pale green parts only, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ tsp porcini powder
  • ¼ cup white wine if you have sherry on hand, by all means use it
  • tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cups chicken stock bullion is fine, I usually use half as much as recommended
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

To Serve

  • cooked wild rice
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream to taste
  • fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped to taste

Instructions
 

Cook the Wild Rice

  • In a small saucepan with lid, boil the water. Add the wild rice and season with salt. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and set aside until needed. This step can be done up to a day ahead
    ½ cups wild rice, 1½ cups water, kosher salt

Make the Soup

  • In a large pot with lid (I use Le Creuset), heat half the oil and a 2 tsps of the butter over medium until the bubbles subside. Add half of the mushrooms, taking care not to overcrowd. Cook until browned and tender. Remove them to a bowl.
    Repeat with the second batch of mushrooms. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside. Allow the pot to cool slightly after you finish cooking the second batch, but leave the bits
    1 tbsp neutral oil, 3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided, ¾ pound assorted mushrooms like cremini, oyster, and shitake, sliced, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper
  • Over low heat, melt the remaining butter and add the leeks. Stir to coat. Cover and sweat them for about 8–10 minutes or until tender, stirring every so often. Listen to make sure that they are cooking slowly and not hissing and popping—you want softened, not browned
    2 small leeks, white and pale green parts only, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • Remove the cover. Add the porcini powder and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine and soy sauce, and cook for 1 more minute
    1 ½ tsp porcini powder, ¼ cup white wine, 1½ tbsp soy sauce
  • Add the stock and herbs and increase the heat to medium. Bring to a boil and then add the mushrooms. Return to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes. Remove the herb stems and skim off any fat that rose to the surface. Adjust seasoning
    3 cups chicken stock, 1 sprig thyme, 2 sprigs flat-leaf parsley

To Serve

  • If serving all at once, stir in the rice and cream to the pot. Serve, garnished with flat-leaf parsley
    cooked wild rice, 1 tbsp heavy cream, fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • If cooking for one, add a portion of the rice to a bowl (if cooked ahead of time and refrigerated, heat it in a small saucepan with the soup you'll serve). Drizzle with heavy cream and garnish with flat-leaf parsley

Video

Keyword Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup, mushrooms, wild rice, Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup, Wild Rice and mushroom
Tried this recipe?Let me know what you think!

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