Hardly ever the star of a meal, wild rice really can be more than just a side dish. It balances well with the flavors of many foods such as dried fruits, nuts, fish, duck or mushrooms and can shine as a main dish salad, soup or casserole. Experimenting with wild rice can create near endless culinary possibilities and many delicious dishes. Here are a few cooking tips and recipes for wild rice.
Cooking tips for wild rice
Cooking tip #1: Get the real deal
When shopping for wild rice in the market, make sure the box says “100 percent wild rice,” otherwise, it may be a mixture. Read the ingredients to make sure.
Cooking tip #2: Store properly
Once the package is opened, make sure to store unused wild rice in a sealed container in a cool, dry place. If unused for too long, it can attract bugs.
Cooking tip #3: Rinse wild rice
Be sure to rinse wild rice well before cooking. Place it in a fine-mesh sieve and run it under cold water while roiling it with your fingers.
Cooking tip #4: Have patience
Wild rice generally takes longer to cook than other rice, so be sure to read the package instructions and add that to your prep time for a meal.
Cooking tip #5: Manage portions
Wild rice puffs up a lot, even more then white rice, so about 1 cup of raw wild rice will equal 3 to 4 servings of cooked.
Cooking tip #6: Use broth
If you want to add even more flavor to wild rice, cook it in vegetable, beef or chicken broth instead of water.
Cooking tip #7: Love your leftovers
Wild rice tastes great served with honey and milk (similar to oatmeal) or mixed with eggs for a healthy and satisfying breakfast. To reheat leftover wild rice, place it in a pot over medium-low heat with some butter and stir until warmed through.
Wild rice recipes
Wild Rice and Cranberry Salad
Makes 4 to 6 servings
1 cup wild rice
2-1/3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Combine rice, water, salt and butter in a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and cook for 50 minutes, undisturbed. Take pot off of heat, leave pot covered, and let rest for 10 minutes, without touching. Then remove lid and fluff with a fork and continue to let cool.
2. Meanwhile, combine, cranberries, pecans and green onions. In another bowl, whisk together lemon juice with oil, orange peel, sugar, salt and pepper. When ready to serve, add rice to cranberry mixture. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Makes 8 servings
1 finely chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 pound fresh sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons dry sherry
2 cups half-and-half
1. Saute onion, celery, and carrots in butter for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk flour into mixture and pour broth into pot. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer.
2. Add rice, chicken, salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, pepper, almonds and sherry. Let cook until just heated. Mix half-and-half into soup and continue to simmer for 1 hour or until thickened.
Wild Rice and Shrimp Bake
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces wild rice, cooked
1 (10 3/4-ounce can) condensed cream of mushroom soup
2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
1. Cook shrimp in salted boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and reserve. Saute pepper and onion in butter about 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and spray a casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine rice, soup, 1-1/2 cups cheese, shrimp, vegetables, salt and pepper. Spread into prepared casserole dish and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated all the way through.