Friday, October 28, 2005

Creamy Wild Rice Soup Recipe

My long-time favorite wild rice soup recipe, it's creamy and hearty but light in calories. It's absolutely delicious, a great way to really take advantage of the lovely nuttiness of wild rice. This is the soup of Minnesota Lutheran church supper tradition. It calls to me in the fall when the days grow short but is also light enough to warm a chilly summer day in the North.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup ♥, a classic way to use wild rice, creamy and hearty but light in calories.

" awesome recipe." ~ Amanda
"... very good!" ~ acr
"This is a delicious soup ..." ~ Edith

Home cooks recognize the usual method to make a cream soup – with cream – although the diet- and health-conscious may use lower-fat milk, even non-fat skim milk.

Another method is to use puréed cream-textured vegetables, in this low-calorie CREAMY WILD RICE SOUP, potatoes and parsnips.

The root vegetables do add today’s verboten carbs but also fiber, vitamins and minerals with a minimum of saturated fat. Watch for recipes, especially soups, that use vegetables rather than dairy products to produce creaminess – without cream.

ALANNA's TIPS For years, I used a half cup of wild rice. Now that seems skimpy so I use a full cup. But if you're short on wild rice? A half cup works fine. Grocery-store pre-chopped garlic is convenient and tasty, especially when the specified quantity is doubled or tripled. Your fingers won’t smell of garlic. A gain or a loss? Your call! Cook’s Illustrated, the perfect-ingredient and perfected-methods magazine that produces television’s America’s Test Kitchen, claims that Swanson’s canned Natural Goodness no-fat chicken broth rates highest in taste tests. When a commercial chicken broth, canned or from a powder or a paste, additional salt is usually unnecessary. Parsnips aren't always easy to come by. For a recent batch, I substituted less-expensive rutabagas. Any root vegetable would also work, think turnips, say. Carrots and butternut squash would add welcome color. For something almost elegant, add a splash of sherry. For an easy-to-convert vegan soup, use olive oil and vegetable stock. Now is the time to consider an immersion blender, an invaluable tool available in kitchen and home stores for about $25. After long avoiding one, I now find it indispensable for puréeing foods, whipping cream and mincing herbs. Compared to a bulky, gummy blender, the interchangeable attachments are small and wash up easily in the dishwasher.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite wild rice recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 35 – 65 minutes
Makes 9 cups
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only (about 4 leeks)
  • 2 cups diced celery (about 4 ribs)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups no-fat chicken broth or Homemade Chicken Stock
  • 2 cups red potatoes, skins on, diced small (about five small potatoes)
  • 2 cups parsnips, peeled and diced (about 3 medium)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Splash of dry sherry, optional
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish, optional

WILD RICE Bring water and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add wild rice and simmer until al dente and nut-flavored, about 25 minutes for native wild rice and 60 for cultivated. Turn off the heat, let rest and if there's any liquid left, do not drain.

SOUP Meanwhile, prep leeks and celery. Heat butter or olive oil on medium heat in a large, heavy Dutch oven until shimmery. Stir in leeks and celery, sauté until just beginning to turn golden, breaking up with leeks as they soften. Add parsley and garlic, sauté another minute or two. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, parsnips, salt and pepper. Cover and return to a boil.

SIMMER Reduce heat to maintain a slow simmer and simmer 20 – 30 minutes or until potatoes and parsnips are soft.

PURÉE With a standard or immersion blender, purée hot vegetable broth but do leave some chunks for a textured, rustic soup. CAUTION With a standard blender, blend in small batches. If you're unfamiliar with the safety precautions when working with hot liquids in a blender, please review these tips, Hot Liquids in a Blender.

FINISH Stir in cooked wild rice and sherry (if using) and bring back to temperature. Taste, adjust seasoning. Serve hot garnished with parsley.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per cup: 193 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 32g Carb; 4g Fiber; 774mg Sodium; 4mg Cholesterol; 8g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 5

The Soup of Minnesota Lutheran Church Suppers

Creamy Wild Rice Soup ♥, a classic way to use wild rice, creamy and hearty but light in calories.

I like a chunky soup where you can both see and taste the individual ingredients. That makes an immersion blender perfect for adding "creaminess" without blitzing the entire pot. That said? The traditional way to make wild rice soup is to blend all the cooked vegetables and broth into a creamy purée, then add the cooked wild rice back in. Both ways are wonderful. Cook's choice!

More Wild Rice Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Oven-Baked Whole-Grain Pilaf Wild Rice Salad Turkey Wild Rice Casserole

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Mocha Morsels

Both at once, a cup of coffee and a chocolate chip cookie

You never know where you’ll discover a great recipe. My sister once mailed a magazine article she’d clipped. I don’t remember the article’s topic but often make the cheese gnocchi pie, a cheesy side dish, printed on the other side.

The recipe for MOCHA MORSELS was published in a food magazine, no surprise there, but in an ad for a food processor. Mix up a batch of cookies in a food processor? Whatever!

While I can’t imagine cooking without a Cuisinart, the hand mixer I bought for ten bucks many years ago has served well. The Maytag man should be so lonely.

ALANNA's TIPS Toasting nuts in a pre-heating oven is a simple trick. The hot nuts will cause the chocolate chips to melt, slightly, an effect I like. If you don’t, let the nuts cool before adding. Except for exacting pastries, home cooks rarely need to separately sift or stir together dry ingredients. To counteract settling, do stir flour before measuring, however. Then pour the flour and the other measured dry ingredients into the mixing bow and stir together lightly with a spoon but without incorporating into the creamed mixture. To save time and conserve energy, buy extra sets of inexpensive measuring cups and spoons to store inside ingredient containers. My flour bin holds a half-cup measure and a tablespoon (and a butter knife for stirring and leveling), the baking powder box a half-teaspoon. If like me, you can’t keep your fingers out of the cookie jar, make a half batch (still using one egg) or deliver a plateful to thin neighbors.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Have you discovered a recipe in an unusual place? Send the recipe to e-mail.


Mixing time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 30 – 40 minutes
Makes 4 dozen medium cookies
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons instant expresso powder or instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (reduced from 3/4 cup)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar (reduced from 3/4 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips (reduced from 1-1/2 cups)

Set oven to 350F. Spread pecans in single layer on baking sheet and toast in oven (while still heating) until nuts are aromatic, about 10 minutes.

Stir together expresso powder and water in small dish.

With a mixer, cream butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add egg, vanilla and expresso mixture; combine well. Measure flour, baking soda and salt into batter. Use a spoon to stir together lightly, then combine all ingredients well with the mixer. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans, cooled if desired.

Cover baking sheet with parchment. Using two spoons, one to scoop and one to scrape, form cookies on baking sheet, leaving space between for spreading. Bake 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per cookie: 118Cal; 1g Protein; 7g Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 13g Carb; 0g Fiber; 37mg Sodium; 15mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 2 points This recipe has been 'Alanna-sized' with reductions in sugars and portion size and increases in low- or no-calorie flavorings.

More Cookie Recipes

(click a photo for a recipe)
Graham Cracker Toffee Banana Oatmeal Cookies Gourmet Mocha Cookies
~ more cookie recipes ~


2007 photo update | As simple as they are, these cookies are really quite delicious, a chocolate chip cookie for grown-ups.

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Cranberry Sauce

An easy fall dish that evokes the season of 'autumn joy'

'Autumn Joy.'

It’s a happy handle for the fat-leaved sedum whose blossoms are aflutter with butterflies this time of year. I think it also conjures the reasons why so many name fall their favorite of the seasons.

It’s as if life has returned to normal.

The kids are long settled into the rhythm of after-school homework, baseball’s end and soccer’s start.

The days are warm, easy to lose (or find) an afternoon in.

The nights are cool, perfect for windows-open, deep-dream slumber.

Yet I find myself planting autumn-joy sedum for winter interest not fall color. As leaves give way, tall stems remain, each topped with a flat crown the size of a small plate. They last through winter and then in early spring, emerge from the earth as peculiar-looking polyps.

There must be a lesson in there, you know, autumn joy that in turn delivers winter interest and spring life.

ALANNA's TIPS To 'sear' is to quickly cook the outer edge of a piece of meat at high temperature, creating an attractive crust that seals in moisture and flavor. When adding the meat, make sure the skillet is so hot it sizzles. I wish otherwise but have little success using a non-fat cooking spray for searing.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Send a favorite recipe for pork tenderloin to e-mail.


Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 25 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 cup non-fat chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup canned cranberry sauce with whole berries
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 450F. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in ovenproof skillet on medium high. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper, add to skillet. Sear pork on all sides, about 2 minutes, then transfer to oven for 10 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion reaches 145F - 160F. Cover meat with foil, let rest at least 3 minutes. (Why 145F - 160F? Should Cooked Pork Be Pink?)

Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in another skillet on medium heat. Add onion and rosemary, sauté until onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir until cranberry sauce melts. Simmer slowly until meat is ready. Pour meat juices into sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Slice meat and serve with sauce.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 267 Cal; 24g Protein; 11g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 18g Carb; 1g Fiber; 723mg Sodium; 86mg Cholesterol; Weight Watchers 6 points

Fresh or frozen sour cherries can be substituted for the cranberry sauce. Delicious!

Pork + Fruit = Magic

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Quick Supper: Thick Chops with Sauerkraut & Apples Quick Supper: Italian Sausage with Grapes & Greens Quick Supper: Tropical Pork Tenderloin
~ more pork recipes ~

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