Thanks to many hours of sunshine and excellent growing conditions, Saskatchewan produces some of the world’s most colourful and flavourful mushrooms. This chowder is comfort food. It tastes so good that you’ll forget how healthy it is!
3 tbsp (45 ml) unsalted butter
½ cup (110 g) bacon, finely diced
1 cup (225 g) white mushrooms, stems trimmed and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 medium celery stalk, finely diced
1 medium russet potato, peeled and medium diced
1 ½ cups (370 g) cooked wild rice
2 tsp (10 ml) fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
30 g flour
1 bay leaf
6 ½ cups (1.5 L) chicken or vegetable broth
¾ cup (175 ml) milk
¾ cup (175 ml) cream
1 tsp (5 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ tsp (1.25 ml) freshly ground black pepper
1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until foaming. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
2. Add the mushrooms to the saucepan and stir to coat with bacon fat. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms begin to brown and the liquid partly evaporates. Transfer mushrooms and remaining liquid to a small bowl and set aside.
3. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Add the onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the carrot, celery and potato. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 7 minutes).
4. Add the rice and thyme to the saucepan and stir to combine. Sprinkle the mixture with flour. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the flour is cooked and a film of flour coats the bottom of the pan. Add the reserved mushrooms, bay leaf and broth and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a gentle boil.
5. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. Uncover the saucepan; stir in the milk and cream and the pepper. Let the chowder simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and the flavours have combined.
6. Stir in lemon juice and taste. Season with more salt, pepper and lemon juice, as needed.
7. Remove the bay leaf and garnish with reserved bacon.