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 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” to them but were still easy enough (and cheap enough) to make with limited skills and when living on a barely over the minimum wage budget. And friends and family (my Mom loved this recipe when I passed it 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 Minnesota Wild Rice Soups are (gotta give a shout out to my Classic Wild Rice Soup). It’s light and clean. It’s just a lovely conglomeration of different flavors.
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 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 its flavor to the broth, and don’t forget the Parmesan, either (which I often do and did in these photos) as its sharp nuttiness really makes the soup. Serve this with a good bread, maybe my Overnight No Knead Crusty Bread.
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 without flour and without cream better. What can I say?
I like to use my Best Chicken or Turkey Stock in this soup (or in just about any soup) but I’ve made this a ton of time with a canned or boxed broth. The bit of lemon just freshens it up! I often make this recipe after a holiday when I have leftover ham or turkey. I like to mince up a little ham and add to this recipe and if I have leftover turkey, that’s a no brainer! Go all-vegetarian with a vegetable stock, though.
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.
Shortcut this Recipe:
When I make wild rice, since it has such a long cooking time, I like to make the whole bag or box and freeze any extra 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, salads, stuffings or add to soups or waffles. Using already cooked wild rice will knock off about 25 minutes from the cooking time of this soup.
I even save the cooking liquid from the wild rice and add it to earthy soups like this shortcut Beef & Barley Soup. The liquid has a deep umami flavor. I just reduce it down so it doesn’t take up much space in the freezer.
Saving Time & Money on Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice:
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 Nord” request it if you have visitors from there – the price difference is amazing in different parts of the country and even online can be scary. 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. Look around the shelves at the store around the wild rice, checking high and low. You might find a bargain.Print
Elegant Mushroom Lemon Basil Soup with Wild Rice
This soup is so bright and fresh, you’ll want it all winter long (and maybe all summer, too.) You might want to double the recipe.
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 - 6 small 1x
- 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
- 2 lemons, 1 lemon squeezed into the soup, the other 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, juice of one 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 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.
Keywords: Bargain Meal of the Week, Carrots, Chicken, Chicken Stock, Freezes Well, leftover ham, leftover turkey, Lemon, mushrooms, Rice, Soup, Turkey, White sauce, Wild 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.