Wild rice is wonderful with game, and in pilafs, casseroles, stuffings, salads and soups. It’s not a true rice but rather the seed of an aquatic grass that still grows wild in the Great Lakes region of the United States. Wild rice can be mixed with short-grain brown rice, which will add a contrasting texture, color, and flavor.
I love its history, too. Native Americans once harvested wild rice (and some still do) by canoeing into a stand of plants, and bending the ripe grain heads with wooden sticks called knockers, and threshing the seeds into their canoes.
Note to vegetarians: use vegetable stock. Vegans: use vegetable stock, omit butter and increase oil to 2 1/2 teaspoons.
Wild Rice with Dried Cranberries and Chestnuts
Yield: 4 servings
2 cups mushroom stock, simmering
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup wild rice
1⁄4 cup dried cranberries
1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
Pinch fine sea salt, or to taste
Pinch freshly ground white pepper, or to taste
1⁄2 cup chestnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (pecans or walnuts can also be used)
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a heavy 1-qaurt pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated, about 3 minutes. Stir in the simmering stock, dried cranberries, bay leaf, thyme, the 1/2 tsp. sea salt and the 1/8 tsp. white pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir and cover. Cook on low until the rice is tender, 45-55 minutes. The longer your cook the rice, the more fluffy it will become.
Remove from heat. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Stir in the chestnuts and parsley. Serve hot or warm.