Midwinter Soup with Wehani

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Preparation info

  • Makes approximately

    8 cups

    thick soup
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Seductions of Rice

By Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

Published 1998

  • About

We have been enjoying this soup for years, though until recently we always made it with barley. One day we decided to substitute Wehani for the barley, and it worked perfectly. It is an easy soup to make, thick and satisfying, great on a cold winter night. You can serve it as a soup course or make it the centerpiece of a meal.


  • ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms, washed
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups water or mild stock
  • 1 cup Wehani rice or Black Japonica rice
  • cups diced carrots (about ½ pound)
  • 3 cups diced potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • teaspoons salt

Optional accompaniments

  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Place the porcini in a medium bowl and pour the boiling water over. Let soak until softened, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and set aside.

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir briefly, then add the bay leaves, pepper, the reserved mushroom soaking water, the water or stock, and rice. Raise the heat and bring to a boil. Partially cover, lower the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the carrots and potatoes and bring back to a boil, then simmer, partially covered, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, or until tender. If the liquid looks low, add ½ to 1 cup hot water. Add the salt and let simmer for another few minutes. Serve topped, if you wish, with a little grated cheese and/or fresh parsley, and place extra accompaniments on the table so guests can garnish their soup as they wish.