Food & Drink

December 6, 2014

Food and Wine Pairing:Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup with Wente Vineyards Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Wente Vineyards partnered with America’s Test Kitchen to compile quick, easy, and impressive holiday recipes and wine pairings for holiday entertaining. We’ve given a few of the recipes a whirl here in the South Florida Food and Wine kitchen and have decided to share with you some of the more impressive recipes to consider when planning your holiday menus. For a flavorful Christmas soup course we highly recommend the Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup with Wente Vineyards 2012 Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon. As opposed to the other recipes we’ve highlighted from the Wente Vineyards and America’s Test Kitchen book, this recipe requires time and effort, but the outcome is so worth going the extra mile.

America's Test Kitchen Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup, photo credit: America's Test Kitchen

America’s Test Kitchen Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup, photo credit: America’s Test Kitchen


  • 1/4ounce dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed
  • 4 1/4cups water
  • 1sprig fresh thyme
  • 1bay leaf
  • 1garlic clove, peeled, plus 4 cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4teaspoons baking soda
  • 1cup wild rice
  • 4tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1onion, chopped fine
  • 1teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2/3cup dry sherry
  • 4cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/4cup cornstarch
  • 1/2cup heavy cream
  • 1/4cup minced fresh chives
  • 1/4teaspoon finely grated lemon zest


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grind shiitake mushrooms in spice grinder until finely ground (you should have about 3 tablespoons).
  2. Bring 4 cups water, thyme, bay leaf, garlic clove, ¾ teaspoon salt, and baking soda to boil in medium saucepan over high heat. Add rice and return to boil. Cover saucepan, transfer to oven, and bake until rice is tender, 35 to 50 minutes. Strain rice through fine-mesh strainer set in 4-cup liquid measuring cup; discard thyme, bay leaf, and garlic. Add enough water to reserved cooking liquid to measure 3 cups.
  3. Melt butter in Dutch oven over high heat. Add cremini mushrooms, onion, minced garlic, tomato paste, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are browned and dark fond develops on bottom of pot, 15 minutes. Add sherry, scraping up any browned bits, and cook until reduced and pot is almost dry, about 2 minutes. Add ground shiitake mushrooms, reserved rice cooking liquid, broth, and soy sauce and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until onion and mushrooms are tender, about 20 minutes.
  4. Whisk cornstarch and remaining ¼ cup water in small bowl. Stir cornstarch slurry into soup, return to simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat and stir in cooked rice, cream, chives, and lemon zest. Cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.

Wente Vineyards 2012 Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (SRP $18) works well with the earthy and creamy flavors of the soup. The wine’s flavors of ripe black cherry and dark plum are fruit-rich, with approachable tannins making this a well balanced food and wine pairing.

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