Recipe for wild rice and cranberry soup
Driving from Rhode Island to Boston last week, I passed a large cranberry bog bordering the highway. If you live in my part of the world (home of the Ocean Spray growers cooperative), you've probably seen your share of cranberry harvests. The farmer floods the bog, the ripe berries rise to the surface, and what was, all summer, a nondescript lake becomes a ruby-colored vista. The sight of that bog reminded me that I've been meaning to make this wild rice and cranberry soup ever since I saw a photograph of it on the cover of A Beautiful Bowl of Soup: The Best Vegetarian Recipes. The recipe calls for half-and-half, but you can omit it altogether for a vegan soup that's beautiful, satisfying, and gluten-free.
Wild rice and cranberry soup
Adapted from A Beautiful Bowl of Soup. Serves 4-6.
1 Tbsp butter
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (or arrowroot, for gluten-free)
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups cooked wild rice
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup half-and-half
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Fried sage leaves or minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish
In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrot is tender, 5-6 minutes.
Add the flour, and stir to incorporate. Gradually add the vegetable stock, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. Increase heat to medium-high, and stir until the soup is thickened, 3 minutes. Add the rice and cranberries. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries are plump.
Stir in half-and-half, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
To fry the sage leaves, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small nonstick frying pan. When the oil is hot, drop the sage leaves into the pan, and cook for 15-20 seconds, until the sage is crisp but not brown. Top individual bowls of soup with fried sage (or with fresh parsley leaves). Serve hot.