Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup

From Sunset Magazine, October 2007, pg. 126

A little cream goes a long way in this earthy, supremely comforting soup.

Prep and Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours
Makes: 8 servings
Notes: Look for whole wild rice grains; they cook more evenly and keep their nutty-chewy texture better than split or broken grains do. Pancetta is available at specialty markets and Italian delis; you can substitute bacon if you like.

3/4 cup wild rice (see Notes)
1 tbsp salt
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
5 tbsp butter at room temperature, divided
4 oz. pancetta, finely chopped (see Notes)
8 oz. button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 leek, halved, rinsed, and white and light green parts thinly sliced
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
3 tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1. Put wild rice, salt, and 8 cups cold water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to maintain a steady simmer, and cook until rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, put porcini in a small bowl and pour in 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Let sit until soft, about 15 minutes.

3. In a large pot, cook 1 tbsp butter and pancetta over medium-high heat until the meat renders some of its fat and turns a lighter pink. Add button mushrooms and leek, Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms give off their liquid, about 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, lift porcini from liquid with a slotted spoon (reserving liquid), chop finely, and add to pot.

5. Sprinkle vegetables and pancetta with flour and cook, stirring constantly, until flour starts to stick to the bottom of the pot (scrape it up as much as possible while stirring). Add wine, reserved liquid from soaking porcini (pouring slowly so as to leave any grit behind), and broth. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, combine remaining 4 tbsp butter, the parsley, and pepper, Set aside.

7. Add reserved wild rice to vegetable mixture and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cream and cook until hot, about 1 minute. Divide soup among 8 bowls and serve hot, with a dollop of parsley butter on each serving.

Per serving: 305 Cal, 62% (189 cal) from fat; 8.1 g protein; 21 g fat (12 g sat); 20 g carbo (2.5 g fiber); 818 mg sodium; 55 mg chol.