I love this time of year. The sun is out longer, and the temperatures are starting to creep up. It makes you feel good when you walk outside and realize that you can shed a layer or two. I also love the food during this season. Everyone is starting to transition from the heavy, warming comfort foods of winter to lighter and more fresh tasting dishes.
This soup is a great spring soup, not too heavy, yet perfectly light tasting. The fresh lemon zest is the perfect finish to the fresh asparagus and mushrooms, and the rice helps to make it a nice substantial meal. I'm not a huge fan of cream-based soups, so I wanted to find a way to replicate the creaminess without the heaviness.
This is a perfect soup to enjoy on these longer spring days.
Hearty Asparagus and Wild Mushroom Soup
1 (6 oz) box of long grain and wild rice blend, prepared
1/2 c dried mushrooms
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb asparagus, cut into 1/2" pieces
4 cups vegetable broth
salt/pepper to taste
3/4 tsp dried thyme leaves, crumbled
1 can evaporated milk (fat-free or 2% work well)
2 tbsp cornstarch
Zest of 1 lemon
Prepare rice according to directions. Set aside. Place dried mushrooms in 1 cup of boiling water. (I used a combination of porcini, straw, and shiitake mushrooms) Allow to soak for 20 minutes. Strain, reserving the water, and chop mushrooms. Set aside, along with soaking water. In large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute for 2 minutes. Add asparagus and saute an additional 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, rice, and thyme, and stir well. Add reserved mushroom water and broth, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. In small bowl, whisk cornstarch into evaporated milk, and pour into pan. Bring back to a boil and boil for 3-5 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest. Serve and enjoy!