Somehow the summer has passed, we have moved and the dust is not settling because our kitchen is under construction. But life returns to a new normal – just in time for soup season. Fall is the best season, when the leaves turn gorgeous colors, the air becomes crisp in the mornings, and we change the way we eat from grilled dinners to braised dishes and soups.
This week’s recipe is a deliciously flavorful, satisfying, and indeed perfectly cozy vegan soup for fall, just like its name: Cozy Autumn Wild Rice Soup. In my house it’s usually all about the meat, but sometimes it’s nice to have a vegan meal here and there. Lots of fresh vegetables and wild rice in a base of broth and coconut milk make this soup flavorful, and you won’t miss the meat. But if you need more, I would suggest roast chicken. I’ve included the slow cooker version because that’s how I currently cook with a ripped kitchen, but there are stovetop and Instant Pot versions of the recipe available on line.
While your soup simmers, consider attending an Empty Bowls Wichita event within the next two weeks. Empty Bowls is a grassroots global initiative designed to help feed the hungry in the community. These events are organized by artists and artisans to raise funds and raise awareness about hunger in the community.
The main event will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on October 22 at Woolsey Hall at Wichita State University. Participants buy a handmade bowl, taste chilies and take their bowls home “to remind all people in the world who are hungry”. For more information on events, visit Wichita Empty Bowls on Facebook or visit KansasFoodBank.org. I can’t think of a more important cause. Feeding our bodies also feeds our souls.
Wild Rice Cozy Fall Soup
6 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
1 cup uncooked wild rice
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and diced
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
1 bay leaf
1 ½ tablespoons Old Bay seasoning
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
2 large handfuls kale, coarsely chopped with the thick stems removed
Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Slow cooker method:
Combine vegetable broth, wild rice, mushrooms, garlic, carrots, celery, sweet potato, onion, bay leaf and Old Bay seasoning in the bowl of a large slow cooker. Stir briefly to combine, then place the lid on the slow cooker.
Cook over high heat for 1 to 2 hours, until the rice is cooked and tender. (Test the rice at one to see if it’s on the verge of tenderness. Variance is due to different slow cookers. Add an extra cup of broth if the rice cooks too quickly and soaks up all the broth.
Add the last ingredients. Add the coconut milk and kale to the soup and stir gently until combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper (plus any additional Old Bay seasoning, if desired) as needed. Serve hot and enjoy.