Fall is here! Many herald this as the season of pumpkin-spiced beverages, but for me, tis the season of soups, stews and chilis!! As soon as the weather gets brisk and the sky goes a little gray, all I want to do is snuggle up on the couch with a cozy blanket and a good movie, and chow down on that most comforting of cuisines, soup. Soup: the only cure for seasonal affective disorder. Or just yummy. Whatever.
(Sidenote: I have tried many pumpkin-spiced coffees, but can’t find any that I don’t find repulsive. It doesn’t make sense. I love pumpkin spices. I love coffee. But I hate pumpkin-spiced coffee. If you know of one that isn’t gross, let me know in the comments. So many seem to derive such pleasure from them and I feel like I’m missing out.)
Let us now return to the world of soup. This soup started its journey as a dish my mother made for years, meatballs with mushroom sauce and rice. I continued to make it myself in college and ever-after. In my twenties, and feeling impatient one day, I realized the dish worked just as well (and cooked faster) if I just browned the ground beef and didn’t bother with making it into meatballs. It’s not as pretty, but it tastes just as good.
Somewhere along the way, feeling health-conscious, I made the move to brown rice instead of white. Still just as good.
And recently it hit me: every time I make this dish, my husband and I are always going back to the skillet for one more taste of that delicious sauce. And I realized I could just cut out the middleman, change a few things, and make this a soup.
Sautee approximately ½ cup finely diced white onion and 1 ½ cups chopped mushrooms in 4 tablespoons of butter.
When the onions are transparent, crumble in ½ pound of ground beef and brown, making sure to keep it well crumbled, mixing with the onions and mushrooms. Season with garlic salt and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and add 2 cans of reduced sodium cream of mushroom soup. Stir in one can of water, and a half can of milk – or to desired consistency. Season with additional salt as needed. Heat the soup on medium heat until it boils, then let simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
Prepare wild rice. I used 2 Success Rice individual, microwavable portions of brown and wild rice, since it’s hard to find prepared wild rice without additional seasoning added in. I pretty much only use boil in the bag or microwavable rice because - why resist progress?
Add rice to soup at the last minute, or serve soup with a large dollop of rice in the center.