Wild Rice and Chanterelles

The voluptuous texture of chanterelle mushrooms is fabulous with wild rice. One August, when my cousins the Bushes (I’m not kidding) came to visit, they picked seven pounds of chanterelles in the semi-wild preserve adjoining our house. Marion has a business in White Plains, New York, called Wild Harvest. She gave me an on-the-spot lesson in chanterelle identification, showing me how to compare the blunted gills of the edible chanterelle with the sharp gills of its poisonous cousin. When I asked her if a person could die from eating the poisonous look-alike, her cryptically cautionary reply was, “No, but you get so sick you’d wish you would!” Wild mushroom picking is definitely for the experts. Fortunately, chanterelles are widely available in specialty markets.

That chanterelle windfall inspired this entire menu, which I prepared for the Bushes the following winter when the chanterelles became available in the market.

Using meat stock to cook the wild rice in this recipe turns the grains a dark rich brown that looks gorgeous against the pale orange of the mushrooms. This flavorful dish perfectly complements the rich flavor of squab.

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INGREDIENTS MEASURE WEIGHT
volume ounces grams
wild rice 1 cup 6 ounces 170 grams
Glace de Viande* 3 cubes 1.5 ounces 48 grams
water 3 liquid cups
salt ¾ teaspoon 5 grams
chanterelle mushrooms 12 ounces 340 grams
unsalted butter 2 tablespoons 1 ounce 28 grams
minced shallot or onion 2 teaspoons 6 grams
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled 5 grams
pepper, freshly ground a few grindings
parsley, preferably flat-leafed, minced 1 tablespoon

*or 3 cups unsalted beef broth or use 3 cups squab stock and 1 beef bouillon cube, and omit the water.

If using unsalted beef broth and a bouillon cube, add only ¼ teaspoon salt; if using broth that contains salt, omit the salt.

Method

Place the wild rice in a strainer and run cold water through it until the water runs clear.

In a medium-size saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring the Glace de Viande and water (or broth and bouillon cube) to a boil. Simmer, covered, until the glace is dissolved. Measure the liquid and add enough water to equal 3 cups. Add the wild rice and salt, return the water to a boil and simmer over low heat, covered, for 50 to 60 minutes, stirring with a fork three or four times during the cooking. The rice should have puffed open and the liquid evaporated. If any liquid remains, raise the heat slightly and continue cooking briefly, uncovered, until dry. Cover the rice and keep warm.

Wash the mushrooms under cold running water to remove any dirt. Cut off the stem bottoms and any of the stem that may be tough. Slice each mushroom the long way into quarters; cut any larger mushrooms into sixths or eighths.

In a large heavy frying pan with a lid, heat the butter over medium heat until bubbling. Add the shallot or onion and cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until translucent. Add the smashed garlic clove and mushrooms, cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms become tender. Continue cooking, uncovered, over medium- high heat, for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring often, until all the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms begin to glaze and brown lightly. Add this mixture to the cooked rice, then add the black pepper and toss lightly with a fork to blend. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Sprinkle with the parsley.

Pressure Cooker Method

I often cook the rice in a pressure cooker when I don’t want to wait a full hour. It is a delightfully reliable method. Place the water and Glace de Viande cubes (or the stock and bouillon cube), rice and salt in the pressure cooker and lock the lid in place. Over high heat, bring the pressure to high. Lower the heat but maintain high pressure. Cook for 30 minutes. Place the pressure cooker in the sink and run cold water over the lid until the pressure is released. Open the lid away from your face, to avoid the steam. Then boil for a few minutes over medium-high heat to evaporate any remaining liquid. Depending on the rice and the size of the pot, this can take as long as 10 minutes.

NOTE: Uncooked wild rice stored in an airtight container keeps indefinitely without any nutritional or flavor loss.

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