One of the most undeniably lovely things about fall setting in and the weather getting colder is the deliciousness of tucking into a warm bowl of soup for supper. There’s just something about soup in October that tastes different than soup in July, not to mention the simple fact that few are going to be lured into the kitchen over a boiling soup pot when it’s 90 degrees and humid outside. When it’s 40 and overcast with a threat of sleet. Oh year, I’ll stand over that simmering pot all afternoon!
Of course, the beauty of most soups is that you don’t have to slave over a pot all afternoon. Once you get past the prep work and get everything into that pot or slow cooker, you can ordinarily just let them go do their simmering soup thing! The kitchen gets warm and steamy, the house fills with the smell of herbs and spices, and the soup gradually takes on and melds all those flavors together in one delectable bowl! A few occasional taste tests, a dash of salt or pepper as needed, and voila! Isn’t fall comfort and happiness by the ladle full!
There are lots of excellent “fall soups” that particularly capture the flavors of the season. I love wild rice soup, but I had never made it for myself before because I guess I thought it was complicated. Turns out what I thought was “complicated” was really just making sure that the wild rice had plenty of time to cook so that it didn’t remain as crunchy black grains in the bowl.
What I also tend to think of as “complicated” is any kind of soup that calls for a rue to be added at the end. A rue in and of itself isn’t complicated, but it’s not inherently gluten-free either. There’s also the matter of not scalding the milk, and on the whole, it’s just another step in the process. As I said, soup can, and should, be pretty easy. Just throw everything into the pot and let it simmer for…however long you want to let it simmer! Rues complicate that!
But when I recently read a vegan kitchen hack that suggested replacing the rue step at the end with a can of whole fat coconut milk, I figured the perfect first soup to try it with was wild rice soup!
The results were delicious in a “I’ll-never-make-another-rue-in-my-life-if-this-works-in-all-soup-recipes” kind of way! And because I just added it to my own mix of vegetables, rice, and broth, I’m pretty sure there are probably lots of combinations that can and have been experimented with to glean future inspiration from.
I’m happy to give you your first dose of inspiration right here! A hearty, vegetable and wild rice soup that’s creamy, flavorful, gluten-free, and easily made vegan should you opt for vegetable broth instead of chicken stock. With snow already showing up in the forecast for the upper midwest, I’ll be keeping these ingredients close at hand throughout the season for a comfy, cozy, delicious dinner option!
AUTUMN WILD RICE SOUP
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup shredded carrots
8 oz finely sliced portobello mushrooms
1 large sweet potato, cubed
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 1/2 cups wild rice
6 cups chicken stock
1 can whole fat coconut milk
salt, pepper, spices to taste
1. Prepare all vegetables: slice mushrooms, dice onion and celery, peel and cube potatoes and squash, shred carrots
2. Saute onions, celery, and mushrooms together in olive oil. I do this directly in the soup pot meaning any “deglazing” when the broth is added puts that flavor right in the soup. Salt and pepper to taste. I also add garlic powder, thyme, paprika, and old bay seasoning.
3. When onions are translucent, and most of the moisture has been sweat from the mushrooms, add 6 cups of stock, potato, squash, and rice to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. The soup will need to simmer at least an hour to make sure the rice cooks all the way through. Taste occasionally and season as desired during this step.
4. When rice is cooked through, add one can of whole fat coconut milk. Stir thoroughly so that the coconut milk solid melt completely into the soup. It will not thicken immediately but will start to thicken as the soup cools. After solids have dissolved remove from heat.
Serve with a big chunk of warm crusty (gluten-free if needed!) bread!
This made about 8 servings for us. And was delicious as lunches throughout the week! After chilling overnight in the fridge, the coconut milk solids (unable to completely reform) made the broth really thick and creamy, and the flavor was really excellent with just the slightest hint of sweetness.
Recommended wine pairing: A pinot bianco or pinot grigio will provide a nice freshness to compliment the rich flavors of the soup, and the savory nature of butternut squash and coconut milk. Also, depending on your preferences in soup seasonings, the relatively high acidity of the wine may also play nicely with the saltiness of the broth!