Here is one of the winners of last week's venture into new recipes. (I did have to modify it a bit: Since I had no wild rice, I substituted brown rice.)
And yes, bacon contains nitrites and lots of sodium, but this recipe calls for only 2 strips of it and it adds so much flavor to the soup--which is how I believe meat should generally be used (and Michael Pollan agrees with me). It's not a quick recipe, so plan accordingly--but the finished product is wonderfully delicious.
Rice 'n Bacon Soup
1 c. uncooked brown rice
2 c. boiling water
2 strips bacon
1/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. sliced celery
1/2 c. sliced carrots
1 c. or so sliced fresh mushrooms (depending on how much you like mushrooms)
1 can (14 or so ounces) chicken broth--low sodium and MSG-free
1-2 recipe's-worth of cream of mushroom substitute
1-2 c. milk
1 tsp. seasoned salt--MSG-free
Pepper to taste
Bring water to boil in large saucepan. Add rice and simmer, covered, until fully cooked (30-40 min). Add extra water, if needed, to prevent burning. Set aside.
In a skillet, fry bacon until crisp. Remove bacon; crumble and set aside. Drain all but 1 Tb. drippings (I didn't end up with more than that). Saute onion, celery, carrots, and mushrooms.
Make cream of mushroom soup substitute (it's yummier than the canned stuff, I promise).
Add sauteed vegetables, cream of mushroom soup, crumbled bacon, broth, milk, seasoned salt, pepper to rice pot. Cover and simmer until everyone is ready to eat (or up to 1 hour--I didn't simmer it near that long).