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Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup with Almonds

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields 8-1/2 to 9 cups soup.

Servings: six generously.

If you can’t find a ham hock, just leave it out—the soup will still taste terrific.


  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme (1/4 oz.)
  • 10 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley (1/2 oz.)
  • 6 sprigs fresh sage (1/2 oz.)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 6 oz. applewood-smoked bacon (about 7 slices), thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 lb. button mushrooms, stems trimmed; wiped clean and quartered (to yield about 5 cups)
  • 1 large yellow onion (12 oz.), cut into medium dice (to yield 2 cups)
  • 3 medium ribs celery (5 oz. total), cut into medium dice (to yield 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot (5 oz.), cut into medium dice (to yield 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 6 cups homemade or low-salt chicken broth; more if needed
  • 1 smoked ham hock (optional)
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream

For the garnish:

  • 2 oz. (1/2 cup) slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced chives

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on six servings
  • Calories (kcal) : 570
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 400
  • Fat (g): 44
  • Saturated Fat (g): 22
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16
  • Cholesterol (mg): 115
  • Sodium (mg): 480
  • Carbohydrates (g): 30
  • Fiber (g): 4
  • Protein (g): 17


  • Tie the thyme, parsley, sage, and bay leaf into a bundle with kitchen twine and set aside. Heat the oil in a heavy-based soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, stir well to coat in the bacon fat, and then spread out in an even layer. Brown the mushrooms on one side without disturbing them, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the onion, celery, and carrot; let cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the rice, stirring to coat. Stir in the chicken broth, ham hock (if using), and herb bundle. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the rice is tender but still toothsome, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture, called a roux, darkens to a caramel color, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
  • Once the rice is cooked, discard the herbs. If you’ve used a ham hock, fish it out, and when it’s cool enough to handle, take the meat off and return the shredded meat to the soup. Discard the bone. Return the soup to a boil and thoroughly whisk in the roux a little at a time. This amount of roux should thicken the soup perfectly. You can adjust the amount to your taste if it’s too thick or thin, but keep in mind that the cream you’ll add later will thin the soup. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • When ready to serve, heat the soup first and then add the cream. (If you like a lighter soup, you may not want to add all the cream.) Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed, and thin with broth, if you like. Garnish each serving with the toasted almonds and sliced chives.

Make Ahead Tips

You can prepare the soup up to three days ahead (to just before you add the cream), or it can be frozen for up to a month. When ready to serve, heat the soup and add the heavy cream and garnishes.


Rate or Review

Reviews (1 review)

  • Sweetlu | 10/02/2011

    This was a wonderful soup and I did use the roux and the cream to finish but would not be necessary if you wanted a lower cal version..I also only had canadian bacon and pearl barley and both substitutions were right on. Great way to use my organic mushrooms from the farmers market today.

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