27 January 2013

My Very Favorite Wild Rice

I've already told you how I "cheat" when I answer the question about my favorite food, so when I get called out for cheating, I'll answer the way I'm supposed to - with a single food. That single food is wild rice. While I love it enough to stick an uncooked grain in my mouth while I'm preparing other foods, what I really think about when I think "wild rice" is the dish below.
Seriously delicious
This wild rice is something my dad used to cook when I was little (but his included pork chops), so it has a long history in my life. Although it takes a bit of time (wild rice is a whole grain), it is amazingly delicious, is very easy, and freezes without the slightest ill-effects. Wild rice is grown primarily in the great lakes region of North America (notably the northern parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as the nearby parts of Canada). Because wild rice is time-intensive to harvest, it can be pricey if you're living out these primary harvesting zones. We stock up while in Minnesota (we came home with 10 pounds of rice our last trip). However, if you can find it for a reasonable price (it goes for about $4.99 a pound in MN), this dish is actually quite cheap per serving. Based on the ingredients I used (a pound of wild rice, organic celery, organic onion, and Better than Bullion "No Chicken" stock), I estimated just over 60 cents per 1 cup serving.  But honestly, the moral of the story is that you should eat it, because it's my favorite ever.


Wild Rice - Maggie's Favorite EVER
Ingredients
1 lb. uncooked wild rice
3-4 large stalks celery
2 med/large onions
olive oil
4 to 4 1/2 c. veggie broth

Directions
1. Rinse the raw rice until the water is clear.
2. In a large pot, cook the rice with enough water to cover it by a couple of inches (bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for about 40 minutes). 
3. When the rice is still chewy, but not soft, drain it. 
Notice how the grains have started to pop open? This is just what you want!
It still has room to absorb more liquid.















4. In a large(!!) skillet, saute the celery and onion in a bit of olive oil. 
5. Add the rice and broth, cooking uncovered until all the broth has been absorbed. 

Helpful Hints
  • I actually use a super old-school electric skillet for this (it was my grandpa's!). The skillet is 10 1/2 inches on each side and 2 inches deep. Although I don't use it for much, only this and one other dish, I can't imagine cooking those dishes without it. 
  • Wild rice is generally better for you (note: this is a PDF, scroll to page 3 for the beginning of the charts) than other kinds of rice and most other grains. With this said, we always serve this with other foods. Tonight was roasted brussels sprouts and edamame. 
  • Overall, this dish takes about 1 1/2 hours from start to finish, but most of it is not active cooking time. But it is in no way a quick dinner. 
  • I use Better Than Bouillon's "No Chicken" broth for this dish, which makes this gluten- and soy-free.
  • If you look carefully at the picture of the final version and the picture in the directions, you'll see how much more each grain of rice opens by the time the rice is done. If you do happen to leave the rice cooking a bit too long in it's original cooking time, just add less broth for the second cooking time. It won't be quite as flavorful, but it will still be delicious!

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