I have these distinct memories that come to me now and then. They are nothing remarkable, not life changing events, but there they are like they happened yesterday, my very own movie playing on the screen in my brain.
One of these memories that has been on my mind recently is of Christmas break my freshman or sophomore year of high school, I can’t be sure which. My dad was working the afternoon shift, so it was just Mom and me at home each evening.
This particular week, relieved to not have to go to school (I hated school if you don’t know that about me), I remember being happy. And even happier to be watching the premiere of a new show NBC had probably been promoting forever: Deal or No Deal.
That’s right, the memory that has been on my mind and bringing me an unreasonable amount of joy is primarily about a TV show.
If you’ve never seen Deal or No Deal you are probably even more confused. Yes, it was a game show, but like most game shows it wasn’t just about the game. Though it really was fun to play along, choosing one of the briefcases that could contain a million dollars.
It was about the people playing. Their stories. Their friends and families. Cheering them on. Wishing the best for them even though we didn’t know them and likely would never hear about them again.
And the memory is about more than wasting my break watching TV and being crazy excited about it. It’s about spending that time with Mom, relaxing, having fun during a time in which that was incredibly difficult for me. It was one of those moments it felt like the whole world stopped and we were all watching this new game show.
Sometimes I miss days like that.
And that’s when I make soup. I love homemade soup so much, and it’s really not that difficult to make. I had a bag of wild rice in my pantry just begging to be used and so I turned it into a healthy, gluten free, vegan if you use vegetable stock, vegetable filled soup because that’s what we do with things that need to be used up.
While the vegetables are interchangeable, mushrooms add a great meatiness, carrots a slight sweetness, and fennel and onions provide that flavor base. Kale is always my go to green for soups since it holds up to cooking, and even freezing and reheating. Oh, and the addition of fresh dill is such a pop of flavor and a sign that spring is on its way.
- Heat a large stockpot over medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil followed by the carrots, onion, fennel, and mushrooms. Add the coriander and pepper. Sauté for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until starting to brown.
- Add the wild rice and sauté for an additional 2 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and cover. Cook according to package instructions on the rice. Mine took about 40 minutes to become tender and plump.
- Once the rice is cooked, add salt and kale. Cook uncovered for about 5 minutes until the kale is wilted. Serve immediately with dill. Soup may also be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave in 1 minute increments, stirring in between, until warmed through.