Tofino’s Wild West of Mushrooms (recipe)

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Tofino’s Wild West of Mushrooms (recipe)

Like hunting for fall Easter eggs, wild mushrooms are the ultimate forager’s prize in BC’s edible forests. And for chefs, they’re a celebrated flavour-hit that pair brilliantly with autumn comfort foods. Fleeting and so camouflaged they’re almost stealth, Tofino’s hotbed of wild mushrooms include porcinis, chanterelles, pines, lobster, and hedgehogs.

Pop quiz: What goes deliciously well with Tofino’s brisk October winds and wild, pre-Storm Season surf? Answer: Wild Mushroom and Rice Soup.

Whether you come to explore and forage, shop our local markets, or source wild mushrooms at your local stores, make this tried/tested/true hearty soup for guaranteed grateful friends, family and accolades.

Wild Mushroom and Rice Soup
Serves 6 to 8


¼ ounce (7 grams) dried shitake or porcini mushrooms
4 ¼ cups (1 Litre) water
1 spring fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove peeled, plus 4 cloves minced
salt & pepper
¼ tsp baking soda
1 cup wild rice
4 Tbsp butter (unsalted)
½ pound (226 grams) wild mushrooms, trimmed and sliced to ¼” thick
½ pound (226 grams) cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced to ¼” thick
1 medium union, chopped fine
1 tsp tomato paste
2/3 cups (157 ml) dry sherry
4 cups (946 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp soya sauce
¼ cup (59 ml) soya sauce
¼ cup (31 grams) cornstarch
½ cup (118 ml) heavy cream
¼ cup (31 grams) fresh chives
¼ tsp finely grated lemon zest

OK, let’s build this recipe:

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Grind dried mushrooms in spice grinder until fine (you’ll end up with about 3 Tbsp).

3. Bring water, thyme, bay leaf, garlic clove, ¾ tsp salt, and baking soda to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Add wild rice and return to boil. Cover saucepan, transfer to oven, and bake until rice is tender; 35 to 50 minutes. Strain rice through fine-mesh strainer set in 4-cup liquid measuring cup; discard thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Add enough water to reserved cooking liquid to measure 3 cups.

4. Melt butter in Dutch oven over high heat. Add wild/cremini mushrooms, onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned (15 minutes). Add sherry, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until reduced and pot is almost dry, about 2 minutes. Add ground mushrooms, reserved rice cooking liquid, broth, soya sauce, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until onion and mushrooms are tender (about 20 minutes).

5. Whisk cornstarch and remaining ¼ cup water in small bowl. Stir cornstarch blend into soup, return to simmer, and cook until thickened (about 2 minutes). Remove pot from heat and stir in cooked rice, cream, chives, and lemon zest.

6. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Still hungry for wild mushrooms? Here’s a Chanterelle and Porcini Risotto recipe we featured a few years ago that’s also a show-stopper.