½cupparched wild rice of the highest quality you can find
20gramsmixed, dried bolete mushrooms, or substitute some of your choice (this is roughly 1 cup of dried mushrooms) plus an additional handful of dried mushrooms to garnish (optional)
1/4teaspoonfinely minced garlicfor the mushroom croutons
Fresh sliced Italian parsleya pinch for the mushroom croutons
1 oz1/4 cup small diced celery
1oz1/4 cup small diced yellow onion
1oz1/4 cup small diced fennel, or leek
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepperto taste
3tablespoonslardbacon grease, or cooking oil
½cupheavy creamor substitute mild cooking oil
Hickory nut oilto garnish (optional, or sub good olive oil)
Rehydrate all of the dried mushrooms in water to cover for 1 hour, swish to clean and remove dirt, then squeeze dry, strain the soaking water and keep both separate. Reserve some of the mushrooms to be cooked as croutons, a couple slices per person will do.
Chop the remaining mushrooms, then sweat with the rice and vegetables in the lard on medium heat until translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not color the mixture. Season with a good pinch of salt, it should smell nice and nutty. Deglaze with the sherry, cook off the alcohol, then add the mushroom liquid, reduce by half, and add the meat stock.
Simmer on low until the rice is completely cooked, covered, about 45 minutes. Add the cream, then puree the mixture in a highspeed blender until as smooth as possible. If you want to substitute oil for the cream, drizzle in the oil while you puree in the blender.
Pass the bisque through a chinois or fine strainer (optional). Double check the seasoning, adjust as needed, then chill until room temp and refrigerate, or serve, topped with the mushroom croutons, drizzle with a thread of good tasting oil (I used hickory nut) and serve immediately.
For the mushroom croutons
Pat the reserved rehydrated mushrooms dry, then sweat in a small amount of oil on low heat until crisp and toasted. Add the garlic and cook until just ligttly browned, then season with salt, toss in the parsley and cool. The mushrooms should be crisp, nutty, completely dry, and addictive.