1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more as needed
Creamy, enriched with bacon and mushrooms, and bulked out with dark, nutty wild rice, this soup is a great way to put leftover rice to use and makes a lovely lunch or light supper paired with a green salad and crunchy bread.
1Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until foaming. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 to 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate; set aside.
2Add the mushrooms to the saucepan, stir to coat in the bacon fat, and cook over medium heat, stirring rarely, until they begin to brown and the liquid they give off evaporates, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.
3Melt 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, about 3 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, and potato, season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Cover with a tightfitting lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes.
4Add the rice and thyme to the saucepan and stir to combine. Sprinkle the mixture with the flour. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the flour is no longer raw-tasting and a film of cooked flour coats the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.
5Add the reserved mushrooms, bay leaf, and broth and stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through, about 15 minutes.
6Uncover the saucepan, stir in the half-and-half and the measured pepper, and let the chowder simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and the flavors have combined, about 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, taste, and season with more salt, pepper, and lemon juice as needed. Remove the bay leaf and serve garnished with the reserved bacon.