Wild Rice and Chicken Chowder

(serves 8-10, recipe can be cut in half)

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1 ounce package of dried porcini mushrooms

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2 T butter
2 T olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
5-6 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
4-5 stalks celery, diced
6-8 cloves garlic, minced

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8 large cremini mushrooms, stems discarded, caps quartered

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1/2 C dry red wine
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large pieces
8 ounces green peas

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4 bay leaves
4 whole cloves
2 T dried thyme
1 t red pepper flakes

8 C chicken stock

Meat removed from one whole rotisserie chicken, torn into large pieces

2 C heavy cream

2 C wild rice, uncooked

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Place porcini mushrooms in a container with two cups of hot water and allow them to steep for about 20 minutes.

In a preheated soup pot, add olive oil and butter. Once melted and bubbly, add onions, carrots, celery, garlic and a pinch of salt/pepper. Sauté until vegetables soften.

Remove the hydrated porcini mushrooms and chop them into smaller pieces. Strain the reserved liquid through a paper-towel lined strainer into the soup pot. There is often gritty sediment in the mushroom liquid. Add cremini mushrooms, red wine, sweet potatoes and peas. Mix well.

Add bay leaves, cloves, thyme and red pepper flakes. Mix in well and add 8 C of stock. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Add chicken, heavy cream and cooked wild rice just before service. Adjust seasoning with salt and cracked black pepper.

If the soup is made a day or so ahead, leave out rice, chicken and cream.

For the rice:
Rinse two cups of wild rice. Place into a sauce pot with 5-6 cups of water and 1 t salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and cover rice. Cook until tender. You may not use all the water. Just depends. Wild rice takes more time. This rice has some “tooth.” I like to keep it separate from the soup and just add it when warming.

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