Wild rice

Unlike regular white rice, wild rice is a grain native to the Canadian prairies, particularly Manitoba and Saskatchewan where it grows in the many shallow lakes, aided by the long hours of sunshine in the summer months.  First Nations people harvested wild rice using canoes and beat the plants with sticks to collect the ripened grains.  Wild rice from Canada is still grown relatively traditionally and the grains are long and have an amazingly delicious nutty flavour when cooked.  In the US, wild rice is often grown in paddies (like other rice) and is shorter and (in my opinion) less tasty, although also less expensive.

 

Because of its expense, we haven’t featured wild rice in Pure Prairie Eating Plan menus but it can be substituted for other grains in many circumstances.  Wild rice takes about twice as long to cook as regular rice, so if you want to create a blended dish, start the wild rice early, then add the other rice.  Anita Stewart’s book The Flavours of Canada has a great recipe to pair with a roasted chicken or turkey called Baked Autumn Vegetables, Barley and Wild Rice.  You can put it in the oven alongside the bird and relax while dinner cooks.

 

Baked Autumn Vegetables, Barley and Wild Rice from The Flavours of Canada by Anita Stewart

250 mL wild rice

50 mL unsalted butter

500 mL thinly sliced mushrooms

250 mL barley

500 mL cubed, peeled sweet potatoes

500 mL cubed, peeled parsnips

500 mL cubed, peeled celeriac

500 mL cubed, peeled squash

500 g mushrooms, cleaned and halved (optional)

7 mL salt

1 mL freshly ground pepper

500 mL apple cider

500 mL chicken stock

 

1.  Over wild rice with cold water; let soak 4 hours.  Drain and set aside.

2.  Melt butter in a large skillet over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium.  Add onions, sauté until golden.  In a large casserole dish or small roaster, mix wild rice, onions and barley.  Layer root vegetables and mushrooms on top.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour cider and stock over mixture.  Cover and bake in a preheated 375 oF oven for 90 minutes or until the barley and wild rice are tender.  Serves 8.

 

 

In the Pure Prairie Eating Plan, try the Barley with Caramelized Vegetables, substituting wild rice.

15 mL canola oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

250 mL wild rice

1 L low-sodium vegetable broth

15 mL canola oil

1 red pepper, thinly sliced

750 ml sliced mushrooms

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 succhini, cut into thin strips

45 mL balsamic vinegar

15 mL brown sugar

 

1.  In a saucepan, heat first amount of canola oil over medium-high.  Add wild rice and stir to coat with oil, 2-3 minutes.  Add broth to wild rice.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until wild rice grains split and are tender, about 45 minutes.  Add additional broth to keep wild rice covered, if necessary during the cooking.

2. Drain off any excess broth and cover to keep wild rice warm.

3.  Meanwhile, in a frying pan, heat second amount of canola oil.  Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add red pepper, mushrooms and garlic.  Saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add zucchini, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar and continue to cook for about 4-5 minutes longer.  Season with pepper.  Serve over wild rice.  Serves 8.