Salt and Pepper Wild Rice

Because a dish that’s 100 percent wild rice can be grassy tasting, I like to add a little white rice for lightening both the flavor and appearance. I do not recommend buying a commercial mix that includes both, because wild rice takes more than double the time to cook than does white so you end up with undercooked wild rice and overcooked white!

The intense flavor of wild rice works wonderfully with game and full-flavored poultry such as goose. I often bring it as a house gift to my friends the Brossolets, in France, because it is a native American product less available there and goes so magnificently with the game Max hunts. One year, when my friend Jean Pierre, owner of the enchanting Le Rivage hotel and restaurant in Orleans, was about to be married, I presented him with a big package of wild rice, saying, “In America we throw white rice on the bride and groom; but since you are not yet married, here is some wild rice instead. ” He served it for lunch with wild duck they had caught that morning. It was memorable.

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INGREDIENTS MEASURE WEIGHT
volume ounces grams
boiling water 3 to 4 cups
Glace de Viande* 3 cubes 1.5 ounces 48 grams
wild rice 1 cup 6 ounces 170 grams
salt, divided ¾ teaspoon + teaspoon
long-grain white rice (preferably Uncle Ben’s) ¼ cup 1.75 ounces 48 grams
boiling water liquid cup
OPTIONAL: sliced mushrooms cups 8 ounces 227 grams
goose fat or butter 2 tablespoons 1 ounce 28 grams
OPTIONAL: shallot, minced or 2 teaspoons 0.25 ounce 6 grams
onion, minced 1 tablespoon 0.3 ounce 9 grams
pepper, freshly ground several grindings

*Or 3 cups unsalted beef broth and ¼ teaspoon salt; or 2 cups beef broth (preferably College Inn) plus 1 cup water, and omit salt entirely from the recipe.

Method

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

In a medium-size saucepan, bring 3 cups of water and the Glace de Viande (or the broth) to a boil. Simmer, covered, until the glace is dissolved. Remeasure and add water to equal 3 cups. Add the wild rice and ¾ teaspoon of the salt. Return the broth to a boil, then simmer over low heat, covered, for 50 to 70 minutes, stirring with a fork three or four times, until the rice puffs open. Add extra water if all the liquid evaporates before the rice is tender. If any water remains when the rice is done, raise the heat and continue cooking briefly, uncovered, until dry. Cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, spray the inside of a small heavy saucepan with a tight cover with nonstick vegetable shortening, or butter it. Add the white rice, boiling water and the remaining teaspoon salt, immediately cover and cook for 15 minutes on the lowest possible heat. Remove from the heat and allow the rice to sit for at least 5 minutes.

Scrape the white rice into the cooked wild rice and fluff lightly with a fork. Cover the rice tightly.

To prepare the optional mushrooms, while the rice is cooking, in a large, heavy frying pan with a lid, heat the goose fat or butter over medium heat. When bubbling, add the shallot or onion and cook, stirring often, for about 1 minute or until translucent. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook for about 5 minutes or until they give up their liquid. Continue cooking uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add this to the rice mixture. Add the pepper and toss lightly with a fork to blend. (If you omit the shallots and mushrooms, add the goose fat or butter and pepper to the rice mixture.) Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Pressure Cooker Method

I often use this method when I don’t want to wait an hour for the rice. It is delightfully reliable. Place the water and Glace de Viande cubes or stock, the 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 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.

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