So soup is kind of a big deal in my family. All thanks to this lovely lady, my grandmother.
She’s basically the queen over all things soup. It’s well-known and understood in our extended family that her soups will be the best you’ll ever have so don’t even try to seek out something better. She’s got a big, blue Le Creuset pot that sits on her stove and most of this amazing-ness comes out of it. I’m all about symbolism and “hope through osmosis” so I asked for a blue enameled cast iron Dutch oven for Christmas several years back and am still trying to get something as good as hers to come out in a ladle.
One year for Christmas, she gave my great-uncle (her brother-in-law) a gift of soup for a year. She showed up once a month to his house with a full pot and you could cut the envy with a knife as the rest of us sat on with gritted teeth or dropped jaws. I cannot think of a better gift. I can still recall a conversation with my sister:
Me: Remember that year Nonnie gave Uncle Tom soup for Christmas?
Sister: Yeah, talk about the best gift ever!
Me: I’m still not over it.
In my meek effort to carry on the familial soup tradition, I often make her version of wild rice soup. It’s the crowd favorite and the soup that instantly comes to mind when I think of her soup-er powers (I’m sorry, I had to work in that silly joke at some point.)
A few of the reasons I love it:
- It’s super chunky. Most of the time I prefer a less-crowded soup but there is something about all these ingredients together that makes me happy there is more “chew” than “slurp”.
- It’s got bacon AND ham. As Emeril would say, “Pork Fat Rules!”
- It takes about 20 minutes to throw together and then you can let it simmer all afternoon/evening on the stove. Read between those lines. Your house will smell fantastic.
- She often made it for me when I was in college so I associate it with a time in my life when the bills were fewer and I had less adult responsibility.
I made this soup for my husband when we were dating and I’m pretty sure it’s one of the reasons he put a ring on it. So if you were still not sold on making it, that should resolve any outstanding doubts on the subject.
One caveat. This is a fall/winter soup. I’ve never made it in the spring or summer for fear that the world would stop turning or something. I guess you could try to make it throughout the year but I make no guarantees on the results. I’m pretty confident you need leaves or snow on the ground or the soup just isn’t as good.