I had a hard week. Stressful. Anxiety producing. At one point just a wee bit scary. Nothing went quite how I’d wish it would. I felt overwhelmed and, at points, disheartened. Everything is much better now – no need to worry – and part of what cured my ills was a big pot of cream of wild rice soup.
I left the thickening work to the heavy cream by leaving both the flour and the potatoes out of it, I used pancetta where traditionalists would use ham, I tossed in some fresh thyme, and I added fancy-pants leeks instead of homey onions, but it was a fair reproduction of the soup I grew up with. My mom never made it – why would she when Lund’s had such a fine frozen version for sale? – but there was always a quart or two in the extra freezer in the basement, usually slotted into the shelves on the door this time of year, what with the freezer being full of ducks and pheasants.
My family gobbled it up just as happily as I used to. And they agreed that the generous grinds of black pepper at the end are key.