MONTICELLO, Minn. (WCCO) — With snowflakes falling Thursday, we are entering the peak of soup season. And in Minnesota, that means wild rice soup.
It’s as much a part of the diet here as hot dish. But who makes the best?
Your votes sent me to Monticello to try a bowl at the Cornerstone Cafe.
Wild rice is older than Minnesota itself.
For centuries, people have been knocking it into the bottom of a canoe. But the wonder-food isn’t actually rice. It’s a water-grass seed, and it’s as versatile a food as you’ll find.
“We do a lot of stuff with wild rice here,” said Sue Swiecichowski, the owner of Cornerstone Café. “It’s on our breakfast menu. We have a chicken wild rice omelet, and we also have a chicken wild rice skillet.”
But at the Cornerstone Cafe, they still prefer their wild rice the old-fashioned way — in a bowl of soup.
Before thickening the soup with a mix of butter and flour, and adding the chicken, they pour in lots of the most important ingredient.
“I actually think it’s the cream, the quality of the cream that you use makes a big difference when you’re going for a creamy wild rice soup,” Swiecichowski said.
And customers love it.
No matter the season, the Cornerstone Cafe is ladling out 250-300 bowls every week.
“When we came out to bring people soup, everybody in the room already had it, pretty much,” Swiecichowski said.
The soup, like just about everything on the menu, is made from scratch.
“It makes a huge difference in the way things taste, and customers can taste that, they can taste that right away,” Swiecichowski said.
The cream and butter are apparent in the soup’s taste, and you know it’s not exactly the healthiest option.
“It’s definitely a comfort food,” Swiecichowski said. “You know, it’s rich and it’s creamy, and it’s just delicious.”
Hearty, warm and humble…just like the people serving it up.
A bowl of wild rice soup at the Cornerstone Cafe is $6. And if you can’t make it out to Monticello, they do cater.