On a cold winter night in the northern most tip of Vermont I went trekking through the forest to find maple trees. My dad has been a canoe trip guide at a girls camp in northern Canada every summer since 1976. He made sure that when we were 8 we knew how to tie a series of knots, hang a smoke tarp, and find standing deadwood so that we could knock it down, drag it to camp, and quarter it into logs. All of these bizarre skills came in quite handy while seeking and tapping the perfect maple syrup. I learned that you have to wait until the tree is bursting at the seems so much so that when you peel away a piece of bark you see a translucent skin that slowly expands towards you until it pops and syrup pours out in a rush.
I’ve never been syrup hunting and I have no idea how it is actually done although my father is a canoe guide. I do have a fantasy of going on a winter camping syrup extraction trip at some point. Maybe the imagery hammered into my head from every single maple syrup container I have ever bought is creating this. Winter cannot be complete without making at least one thing out of chestnuts, another thing out of peppermint, and yet another thing out of maple syrup. As winter over in LA and probably getting close to that in Pittsburgh I figure I should try to squeeze in one last winter recipe. To catch that last antagonistic May 1 snow that sometimes hits Pittsburgh just to remind yunzers that summer isn’t around the corner.
The recipe in question is that in the center of the center column but the image is on the top of the center column. Don’t add tomatoes. If I were Alex I would have titled this post Soupe aux Champignons et Riz Sauvage al’Erable and this is just as easy to make as meatballs. The only modifications that I made were to use shiitake mushrooms rather than button (this felt obvious) and the long thin black wild rice from TJs that looks like a bag of bugle beeds.
If you’re expecting your great aunt for dinner or one last burst of winter slush this creamy mushroomy concoction should do just the trick. When/if I do end up going maple syrup hunting I’ll make sure to test the impressive change in how fresh this tastes. In the mean time if you want to jazz up the syrup ingredient here is Steve’s favorite syrup, yes of course this means that it sat in a bourbon barrel.