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Hearty Vegetable Rice Soup

1/2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (about 1/2 cup loosely packed)
Boiling water
1 large onion -- chopped
1 medium carrot -- cubed
1 medium turnip -- cubed
1 medium parsnip -- cubed
1 large celery stalk -- sliced
4 large garlic clove -- minced, up to 6
1/2 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice -- rinsed and drained
1/2 cup rinsed and drained uncooked wild rice
8 cups vegetable stock (including reserved shiitake stock) OR water
8 ounces white button mushrooms -- sliced
1 teaspoon crushed dried dill weed -- (2 to 3 tsp. fresh)
Mellow barley miso or salt -- to taste
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley -- up to 3

For a quick start in the morning, soak the mushrooms, and chop the vegetables the night before.

Cover mushrooms with boiling water; set aside at least 30 minutes. Drain, reserving stock. Pour stock through a paper coffee filter to remove grit; set aside. Remove mushroom stems and discard; slice caps.

Add sliced shiitakes, onion, carrot, turnip, parsnip, celery, garlic, rices and stock to a 5-to 6-quart cooker; cover tightly and set on low (use auto-shift for a Hamilton-Beach or Proctor-Silex model). Cook about 8 hours, or until vegetables and rice are tender.

Stir in button mushrooms and dill. Season to taste with salt or miso mixed with hot soup stock. Serve hot, garnished with parsley. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

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