Pressure cooker key to perfecting this Vegetable Wild Rice Soup

After all these years, there are a few things I still struggle with in the kitchen. Hands down, the most problematic one for me is rice.

I know. I know. It is so basic and embarrassingly easy. I have tried every gadget, trick and suggestion known to mankind, and sometimes I manage perfection. My rice can be beautifully tender and fluffy - until the next time it's not. Then it's overcooked mush or even burned and sometimes crunchy.

Seemingly, there's no explanation for my failures, so I was a little wary about this recipe for vegetable soup with wild rice.

When I can't manage plain white rice, how in the world would I get wild rice to cook properly?

Well, it happened, and it happened more than once. The recipe calls for wild rice, but I opted for a wild rice blend containing a mix of wild and brown rice. The trick, of course, is the pressure cooker, in which someone manages to get both the vegetables and the rice perfectly cooked all at the same time.

Most of the work is in the chopping - and there's a lot of it. Once that's done, you toss it in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker, and 30 minutes later, you have a delightful vegetable soup with perfectly cooked rice. If you would rather use a slow cooker, it should take five to six hours.

The best news is that the soup tastes wonderful the next few days. We are now learning that there are added health benefits to waiting a day before consuming cooked pasta and rice.

According to new research, pasta and rice become "resistant starches" after they cool down, which means they don't spike your blood sugar like other starches. They also feed the good microbes in your system, which are linked with lower cholesterol and inflammation.

All of this is to say this soup is super healthy, super tasty and super foolproof - even for a rice incompetent like me.

• M. Eileen Brown is the Daily Herald's vice president of sales and marketing and an incurable soup-a-holic. She specializes in vegetarian soups and blogs at

Vegetable Wild Rice Soup

6 cups vegetable broth

2 cans (14½ ounces each) fire-roasted diced tomatoes

2 celery ribs, sliced

2 medium carrots, chopped

1¾ cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium parsnip, peeled and chopped

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1 cup uncooked wild rice

2 garlic cloves, minced

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 bay leaves

2 fresh thyme sprigs

Combine all ingredients in a 6-quart pressure cooker. Lock lid and close pressure release valve. Cook on high for 20 minutes. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then quick release remaining pressure. Remove bay leaves and thyme sprigs before serving.

If you prefer to use a slow cooker, cover and cook on high until rice and vegetables are tender, 5-6 hours.

Serves 6

Adapted from

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