About this recipe:If you've roasted a brace of pheasants, then it is simplicity itself to transform the carcasses into this deliciously tasty and nutritious soup. With nutty rice grains, tender mushrooms and herbs, it makes a perfect starter before a light main dish.
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, quartered
1 large carrot, about 115 g (4 oz), thickly sliced
1 celery stick, thickly sliced
1 large sprig of parsley
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, halved
150 ml (5 fl oz) red wine
2 cooked pheasant carcasses
55 g (2 oz) mixed wild rice and brown rice
15 g (½ oz) dried porcini mushrooms
115 g (4 oz) chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper
finely shredded zest of ½ orange
fresh thyme leaves
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Method Prep:1hr › Cook:3hr › Ready in:4hr
Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5–6 minutes or until browned. Tie the parsley, thyme and bay leaves together into a bouquet garni and add to the pan with the garlic and red wine. Boil rapidly for 1 minute.
Cut any meat from the pheasant carcasses and reserve. Break up the carcasses, then add to the saucepan together with 2 litres (3 1/2 pints) of cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours. Strain the stock and refrigerate overnight.
Skim off any fat from the stock, then bring to the boil and cook rapidly for 15–20 minutes or until it has reduced to 1.2 litres (2 pints). Add the rice and reserved pheasant meat and stir well, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the rice grains are just tender.
Meanwhile, pour boiling water over the dried porcini mushrooms and soak for 20 minutes to rehydrate. Lift them out of the soaking water, dry on kitchen paper and chop finely. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a sauté pan and cook the chestnut mushrooms over a moderate heat for 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add the porcini and cook for a further 1 minute.
When the rice is tender, add the cooked mushrooms and season with nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot, garnishing each bowl of soup with a few shreds of orange zest and thyme leaves.
Some more ideas
For a pheasant and lentil variation of this soup, add 1 tbsp crushed juniper berries with the wine when making the pheasant stock. After boiling the strained stock to reduce to 1.2 litres (2 pints), add 55 g (2 oz) green lentils and simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are just tender. Then add 12 freshly cooked or vacuum-packed chestnuts, chopped, and 1 finely sliced leek. Cover and simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the leek is tender. Garnish with celery leaves. Unlike other nuts, chestnuts are high in complex carbohydrates and low in fat. * Using poultry carcasses to make stock is a great way to get all the goodness left in the bones. If you don't have time to make stock into a soup right away, boil to reduce it (as in step 3) and then freeze it. Use it as a base for sauces or other soups at a more convenient time.
Unlike white rice, brown rice still contains the germ and bran of the rice grain and therefore offers more fibre and higher levels of the B vitamins than white rice. * Mushrooms contain the B vitamins B2, niacin and pantothenic acid, and they provide potassium as well as good quantities of copper. * Wild rice is not true rice but the seeds of a North American wild aquatic grass. Like rice it is gluten-free. It contains useful amounts of the B vitamins, particularly niacin, and dietary fibre.