Wild rice from Minnesota—now actually harvested in other states as well—turns up on the tables of many Americans at holiday time. There, it is often joined by a big roast turkey. Later on, the left-over turkey meat and bones, and the rice left over in the box, face an uncertain future together. This is precisely why many Americans have taken command of the situation and—on the day after Thanksgiving, or the day after Christmas—are making Wild Rice and Turkey Soup. The flavors go wonderfully well together, with the wild rice—which is really a marsh grass native to the Midwest—contributing a deliciously nutty note.
Holiday Wild Rice and Turkey Soup
Yield: 6 servings
2 quarts water
4 tablespoons salt
1 cup wild rice
5 tablespoons butter
7-8 cups turkey stock (see recipe below)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1 large Russet potato, peeled and finely diced
1 cup left-over turkey meat, cut in 1″ cubes
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Boil the 2 quarts water and the 4 tablespoons salt in a heavy oven-proof casserole dish with lid on top of the stove. Add the wild rice, and let boil, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Drain the wild rice thoroughly in a sieve, discarding the water. Return rice to casserole dish and toss with 1 tablespoon of the butter to coat. Add 1 cup of the turkey stock and bring to a boil on top of the stove. Add a little salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid, and place in oven for 35-40 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
3. While rice is cooking, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions, and sweat until they’re translucent (about 10 minutes.). Add the carrots, celery, and minced herbs, and sweat 10 more minutes.
4. Add the potatoes and the remaining 6-7 cups of stock (or enough to cover vegetables by 2 inches.) Simmer on medium heat until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
5. Add turkey meat and cooked wild rice. Let simmer 5 more minutes, or until meat and rice are warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
This stock can be made either with fresh-bought, uncooked turkey wings—or with a few pounds of left-over cooked turkey carcass and bones.
Yield: 7 to 8 cups
turkey stock 2 large turkey wings, separated at joints
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 large onions, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 large leek, light part only, split in half lengthwise
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1. Place all ingredients in a large stockpot.
2. Fill with cold water to cover by 3-4 inches.
3. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat.
4. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until flavor seems fully developed.
5. Remove turkey parts with tongs and reserve.
6. Strain stock through a medium seive. Discard vegetables.
7. De-fat stock by skimming a ladle over the top of surface.
8. Remove meat from reserved turkey parts and use in Wild Rice and Turkey Soup, or save for another use.