Yup, those were some Wild Mushrooms…

I was visiting with my sister last Friday afternoon when she recommended this little e-cookbook, or app rather, from Chronicle Books called Art of the Slow Cooker by Andrew Schloss. Having a little over $60 in credit at the iTunes store made dropping the $3.99 on this collection of 30 recipes worth the flier, and so far I’m not disappointed.

Being that it’s super super cold this week and also that traffic has been less than stellar, I figured it would be a good time to try a nice hearty soup in the crock pot. Nothing beats walking into the house after a long day and a long drive knowing that dinner is all but done. The first recipe I tried out from this app was the Wild Mushroom Bisque. When I read the word bisque, I instantly think cream base, as in Lobster Bisque or Shrimp Bisque. Apparently that’s not the case with this recipe. I couldn’t even imagine cooking something cream based in a crock pot for the 6-8 hours this recipe calls for or the more realistic 10-11 hours that I typically cook crock pot meals out of necessity. In addition, I was a bit skeptical about cooking mushrooms for that long. I was concerned that they would get mushy and a little gross. The end result left me quite pleased and ready to test a few more recipes from this collection and possibly buy the book of the same name that contains 80 recipes. It’s nice to see crock pot recipes that go a step beyond chili, barbecue or beef stew.

This recipe was delightfully simple to prepare prior to throwing it in the crock pot. I chopped everything the night before and then got up a little earlier than usual in order to quickly brown the veggies. I served this with a generous sprinkle of shredded parm and a slice of nice crusty sourdough as well as a glass of Beringer Pinot Noir. Perfect for the cold weather. Healthy and yet hearty, just what you need during this season of overindulgence:) Cheers!

Wild Mushroom Bisque

Taken from The Art of the Slow Cooker – serves 6

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion cut into 1/2 inch dice

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

1 large celery rib, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

1 lb cremini mushrooms, cut into slices

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp dried rosemary

1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed

1/2 oz dried wild mushrooms (any type) minced (I used porcini b/c it’s what I found)

6 cups beef broth (I used a little more than 6 cups due to my increased cooking time)

1 cup canned diced tomatoes (I used Hunt’s fire roasted tomatoes)

1 tsp kosher salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

3 Tbsp instant mashed potato flakes

HEAT the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and saute the onion, carrots, celery and cremini mushrooms until lightly brown. Add the garlic, rosemary and thyme and cook for an additional minute. Transfer to 5-6 qt. slow cooker.

ADD the remaining ingredients except for the mashed potato flakes, cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours until the rice is tender. (Here is where I played with the cooking time. I turned on the crock pot at 6:30 am and had my husband switch it off around 5 pm when he got home. I was curious as to how something like this would take to nearly 11 hours of slow cooking but it stood up well. As I noted in the ingredients, I did increase my broth somewhat to account for the longer cooking time.)

STIR in the potato flakes and cook on high for 10 minutes. (this is obviously the thickening/creaminess agent right here)

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