This month's My Kitchen, My World selection for world cuisine was the The United States. I
only have one recipe this month, something that I feel represents our
country as truly American. The Native Americans were given a monopoly
on the Wild Rice crops in the United States, something to help
compensate them for the losses they sustained and something to help
I grew up in Northeast Iowa, not too far from Minnesota
which harvests lots of Wild Rice. I brought my love of it here with me
and have a difficult time finding true pure Wild Rice in Indiana. But,
it can be done on occasion. And, if not, everyone who passes through or
goes to Minnesota has my standing order.
Wild Rice is not really a rice at all, but a wild grain. Most people don't cook it right, they don't cook it long enough to open it up in its entirety. The trick is to soak it overnight in room temperature water, drain it the next day, and cook it a long time, until all the shape to the grain is completely gone and it has opened up showing its white parts. It tastes best with just a little salt and butter, not too much of either so that the taste of the grain has a chance to shine. Undoubtedly, one of my favorite foods of all time. And, just so you know, I have NEVER had it cooked properly in a restaurant, I have long since given up trying to find good Wild Rice prepared properly on a menu.
This is a recipe I like to make at Thanksgiving time, which pairs it with another American favorite: the cranberry.
Wild Rice, Mushroom, Carmelized Onions, and Dried Cranberries
(Serves 4, easily doubled, etc.)
4 oz. of pure Wild Rice grown in Minnesota (no wild rice mix or blend, although if you must, it works well with that, too)
1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth -
Rinse rice until water runs clear; soak rice for an hour at room temp water (overnight is even better), and drain.
Put chicken broth in saucepan to boil and then add the drained
rice...cover with lid, reduce heat to simmer for 50-60 minutes, shut off
heat, let rice continue to sit in the pot with the lid on for another
half hour to steam.
While the rice is cooking:
Slice 8 oz. fresh portabella mushrooms and saute in a large skillet with 1 Tablespoon butter until they are cooked as you like them, remove from pan and set aside.
In the same skillet, cut 2 medium yellow onions into wedges, and saute with 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar on medium heat until soft and caramelized (takes about 40 minutes usually).
After the onions are caramelized, add 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
Add the cooked mushrooms and the cooked wild rice into the pan and mix
all ingredients until well distributed.
(I tend to cook with less salt,
and if there is salt in the broth, this is probably enough, but you can
add additional salt if you feel it needs it.)
You can make all this, put it into a covered casserole dish and reheat it in the oven when you need it if you want to prepare it ahead. I have also microwaved it to reheat it with good results...not too long.