Soup of Black Trumpets (or Horn of Plenty) and Wild Rice

Preparation info

  • Serves

    8

    as a first course

    Appears in

    Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini

    By Elizabeth Schneider

    Published 2001

    • About

    Thick and autumnal, this dark mysterious mixture suggests chestnuts and truffles, making it an ideal opener for a meal of game. Juniper adds an inimitable piney undertone. If you prefer a stronger taste, substitute meat broth for the water. However, I find that black trumpets yield an unusually savory broth on their own.

    Ingredients

    • ½ pound black trumpet (or horn of plenty) mushrooms
    • 3 ounces firm dry-cured country ham, such as Smithfield-type, cubed
    • 2 large shallots, halved
    • 2 or 3 medium parsnips, peeled and chunked
    • 2 medium interior celery stalks with leaves, chunked
    • 1 medium potato, peeled and chunked
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 8 juniper berries, chopped, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
    • ¼ teaspoon coarse-ground pepper
    • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
    • ¼ cup medium dry sherry or Madeira
    • ½ cup wild rice
    • 6 cups water or mushroom or meat broth
    • ½ to 1 cup light cream or half-and-half
    • 3 to 4 tablespoons brandy
    • Lemon juice

      Method

      1. Pick over mushrooms to remove over-the-hill specimens and stray pine needles or twigs. Drop mushrooms into a bowl of water, swish around vigorously, then quickly lift out. Repeat until very little soil sinks to the bottom (water will not be completely clear—and you don’t want to wash out all mushroom flavor). Spread mushrooms on towel.
      2. With motor running, drop ham and shallots into food processor and chop fine. Add parsnips, celery, and potato and chop to medium texture—not fine.
      3. Set heavy pot over moderate heat. Add butter. As soon as it begins to brown, stir in chopped vegetables. Continue stirring until lightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add juniper, nutmeg, and pepper; stir another minute. Add mushrooms and salt and stir a few minutes more. Add sherry and cook until nearly evaporated.
      4. Add wild rice and water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, partly covered, until wild rice is tender, or until a few grains “explode.” Timing varies, but 45 to 60 minutes is likely.
      5. With slotted spoon, transfer about one-quarter of the solids to food processor. Add ½ cup cream and 2 tablespoons brandy and puree until smooth. Return to soup. Add cream, water, salt, brandy, and lemon juice to taste.