I’ve been making Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice for ages. Decades. Long before I even had kids. Way back when I was just figuring out how to really expand my cooking skills beyond what my Mom taught me, I picked up one of those little paperback cookbooks near the grocery store check out stand. Do they still have those little cookbooks – I’ve become blind to everything stuck near the checkout stand, placed there to tempt you!
But anyway, Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice is one of the first recipes I remember making that wasn’t just something I learned from someone else (Hey Mom, how do you make blah blah blah) or kind of made up after tasting something. It’s hard to remember a time when you couldn’t just google up a recipe, and if you wanted a cookbook, had to drive to a bookstore (and shell out some big bucks!) rather than just hit up a site online.
About Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice:
In some ways, those cheap little pamphlet-style cookbooks kind of shaped my early cooking style. I had a knack for picking recipes out that had a bit of “elegance” around them but were still easily enough (and cheap enough) to make on a living on a barely over the minimum wage budget. And friends and family (my Mom loved this recipe I passed on to her) and co-workers at potlucks started complimenting me and cooks thrive on that, amirite?
There is just something about the flavors of this Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice that’s almost haunting. It clearly has a Mediterranean lean, but then there’s the wild rice. It’s not a thick hearty, stand your spoon up in it soup like most of our ubiquitous Minnesota Wild Rice Soups are. It’s light and clean. It’s just a lovely conglomeration of different flavors from around the globe (like so many of us are…)
So to my more adult eyes, Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice isn’t maybe as elegant as I first thought way back when (hello, can of condensed cream of chicken soup. but then all my friends were eating Campbell’s Tomato or Chicken Noodle soup) but it’s so good and such a perfect, bright, lemony soup for a winter day. Don’t forget to garnish – the lemon slice is really a key flavor and subtly lends it flavor to the broth, and don’t forget the Parmesan, either (which I often do) as its sharp nuttiness really makes the soup. I usually double Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice. Leftovers are beautiful and even better than the first day (don’t leave any lemon in the soup if you store it – it becomes too strong) and it freezes very well.
Making Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice:
Over the years, I’ve tried to eliminate the can of soup, always with mixed results. The most successful was to make a roux by adding about 2 1/2 tablespoons of flour right into the sautéed the vegetables, then tossing in a cup of cream and a bit of Parmesan at the very end of the cooking time, off heat. Never let the soup come to a simmer or a boil after adding the cream (or any dairy.) Frankly, we liked the original version better. What can I say?
Other than that, the soup is super easy and straightforward. If you’ve cooked up wild rice ahead of time and frozen it, or if you use canned wild rice, you can knock off a good 15 to 20 minutes off the simmering time for Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice.
Saving Time & Money on Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice:
Hope you guys enjoy Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice much as we do. Serve this with a hearty bread like Crusty Bread for a wonderful, light lunch or meal or maybe serve it as a first course. You might notice the soup, as originally written as no actual meat in it, but I love tossing leftover chicken, turkey or even a bit of slivered leftover ham in the works…I first made Elegant Wild Rice Soup for my site in April 2012, repriced March 2014 for $4.97.
The priciest item in this soup is the Wild Rice: Look for it on sale around Christmas and Thanksgiving. If you don’t live “up North” request it if you have visitors from there- the price difference is amazing in different parts of the
country although now that commercial wild rice is available, it’s become more affordable. There are different grades of wild rice. The perfect whole grains are more expensive but don’t have any more flavor than the lesser grades that probably have some broken grains.
When I make wild rice, since it has such a long cooking time, I like to make the whole bag or box and then add it to recipes like this. It’s a great shortcut to have wild rice bagged and frozen in small portions, ready to make up your own homemade rice blends, dressings, stuffings or add to soups or waffles. I even save the cooking liquid and add it to earthy soups like Beef & Barley. The liquid has a deep umami flavor. I just reduce it down so it doesn’t take up much space in the freezer.
Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 large carrot, peel removed, finely diced
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- 10 cups chicken stock (see note)
- 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
- 1 tablespoon dried basil or 1/4 cup of a fine chiffonade of fresh. If using fresh, add in at the end
- 1 lemon, about 1/3 of the lemon squeezed into the soup, the rest thinly sliced for garnish
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup of uncooked rice
- 1/2 cup of uncooked wild rice
- optional cup of leftover turkey or chicken, or a half cup of slivered ham
- Freshly grated Parmesan for topping soup, about a teaspoon per person
Heat oil in large pot. Saute onion, celery, and carrots until slightly softened. (Add a bit of water if needed.) Push vegetables aside and add mushrooms, cooking lightly on both sides. Add garlic, stir, and cook for a minute or two longer.
Add stock, cream of chicken soup, basil (if using dried), pepper, rices, squeeze of lemon. Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for 40 minutes until wild rice is tender. If using any leftover ham, turkey or chicken, or the option for fresh basil, add at the end and allow to just heat through.
Note on Chicken Stock: This is not a “thick” soup, so if you’d like, hold back a bit on the some of the stock (say two cups) until the end and add it if you wish. It is also not so particular that if you are using canned or boxed stock that you can’t just approximate amounts so you don’t have any leftover stock or aren’t opening another box or can for an ounce or so.
Freeze (Short term) long cooking grains and rice.
If you came to this recipe looking for a way to use leftover turkey or chicken, be sure to check out the link below for 12 Days of Turkey for other great ideas. You might want to see the sister post for 12 Days of Ham, too.