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  • Minnesota's Best Wild Rice

    Post #1 - January 29th, 2006, 5:52 pm
    Post #1 - January 29th, 2006, 5:52 pm Post #1 - January 29th, 2006, 5:52 pm
    My Uncle Jack was a great hunter and fisherman. Strange, but he didn't even like fish. We loved the quail and goose and laketrout and walleye he brought home, and once I got to go to Lake of the Woods and try my own luck on walleye-- it was pretty good, as it turned out. But the most accessible culinary legacy that Uncle Jack left involved wild rice. He scouted out the best wild rice bread ever (from a little bakery in Black Duck, Minnesota) and the best wild rice produced anywhere. It comes from Ramy Seed Company (Since 1932) and is 100% naturally grown lake wild rice. I don't know how much they are charging for it now-- it used to be about 12.99/lb. Whatever you pay, it is worth it. The grains are longer and shinier than most that you find commercially, as well as more uniform. You can order by phone and have it shipped by the case, as my Mom does. While the classic recipe from the 1960's comes with the rice, here is the best way to cook it so that the grains develop the texture you want and do not overcook. Also, if you cook the rice this way you can freeze it and warm it up for a big dinner. Boiled, the rice becomes too fragile to do this

    1) Rinse quantity of rice desired in cold water. (usually 1-2 lb.)
    2) Place rice in heatproof glass or metal bowl.
    3) Boil up enough water to cover the rice.
    4) Pour boiling water over rice.
    5) Cover rice and wait until water cools down to warm.
    6) Rinse rice, pouring off the warm water.
    7) Repeat boil and cool process until rice achieves desired texture. N.B. This could take an afternoon! But you really can't ruin it-- at least I never have. You must taste for texture appraisal. You can't tell by looking!
    8) Add butter or other flavors as desired.

    This year I tried a new approach for the Christmas Eve dinner. See if you like it.

    Minnesota Wild Rice with Chestnuts & Bacon

    Prepare 1 lb. of Ramy Seed Company Wild Rice by method given above.
    Chop into ribbons 6 slices of bacon or (or more or less, to taste).
    Chop finely 2 lg. shallots and 1/2 small-medium yellow onion.
    Saute bacon to render fat & crisp up bacon.
    Remove bacon pieces and set aside.
    Saute until translucent the shallots and onion. (They should just begin to brown-- Note: If you need more fat, add a bit of butter so that this operation proceeds smoothly.
    Add what you think is an appropriate amount of steamed chestnuts. (I got lazy and just bought the canned French ones. They were a little softer than I would have liked, but still good.)
    Briefly toss chestnuts in onion-butter mixture.
    Add wild rice and reserved bacon pieces. Mix gently
    De-pan into baking dish.
    Keep warm in oven until serving.
    Enjoy!

    Ramy Seed Company
    Mankato, Minnesota
    1-800- 658-RAMY

    Edited to reflect contact information for Ramy
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #2 - November 13th, 2007, 9:55 pm
    Post #2 - November 13th, 2007, 9:55 pm Post #2 - November 13th, 2007, 9:55 pm
    Prodded by LAZ's Thanksgiving recipe thread posting, I'd like to provide an alternative: a wild rice salad recipe that I came up with last fall. The advantage of this approach is that it can be prepared ahead. This frees up oven space on the big day, and offers a bit of relief from the warm, buttery carbo-load you undoubtedly face every Thanksgiving. Caveat: if you need exact amounts, this recipe will frustrate you. I have found the best approach is to taste as you assemble this salad in order to determine the relative balance of flavors.

    Wild Rice Salad with Fresh Figs*

    1. Prepare 1 lb. Minnesota wild rice by method in post upthread.
    2. Drain thoroughly and cool rice in refrigerator.
    3. While rice cools, prepare the following ingredients:

    1 medium jicama, 1/4 inch dice
    3-4 stalks celery or 1 small-medium bulb fennel, sliced thinly,
    (or 1/4 inch dice if you crave consistency).
    2-4 scallions (to taste), green and light green parts only, sliced finely
    Walnuts (mix of black and English, if available): about 1 cup or to
    taste, lightly toasted
    1- 1 1/2 navel oranges, sectioned
    1-1 1/2 pint fresh figs, washed, stems trimmed, and cut in eighths
    Additional figs, halved, for garnish

    4. Combine above ingredients with rice and add a dressing made from the following ingredients:

    combination of walnut oil and another neutrally flavored oil
    balsamic vinegar
    scant amount red wine vinegar
    orange juice and 1 Tb. finely grated orange zest
    very finely chopped parsley, about 2 T.
    salt and pepper to taste (adjust again before serving)
    optional: 1-2 Tb. clover honey

    To determine amount of dressing needed, make more than you think you will use and add conservative amount to rice and fruit/vegetable mixture. Let dressing soak in while you refrigerate the salad. Reserve remaining dressing to add as needed at time of serving. Garnish with additional, halved figs.

    *m'th'su-approved
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #3 - July 15th, 2008, 4:50 pm
    Post #3 - July 15th, 2008, 4:50 pm Post #3 - July 15th, 2008, 4:50 pm
    Had to bump this up as I'm just home from a drive through Minnesota and I'm looking for some recipes for fun things to do with wild rice.

    Thanks!
  • Post #4 - July 15th, 2008, 9:50 pm
    Post #4 - July 15th, 2008, 9:50 pm Post #4 - July 15th, 2008, 9:50 pm
    If you are feeling like a big breakfast this weekend, add a couple of handfuls of cooked wild rice to your buckwheat pancake mix. Blueberries are in season, and this could make a delicious topping.

    Also, does anyone on the board know the technique for popping wild rice like popcorn? I've never tried it, but I have heard it's delicious. Of course, to be a true Minnesota specialty it should be popped in bear fat.

    Although the wild rice is scarce in my current home of Connecticut, the bear fat just might be obtainable. A recent article in the Hartford Courant places the Connecticut black bear population at around 600. I'll be careful to determine whether I am competing for berries with any ursine Nutmeggers.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #5 - September 27th, 2012, 9:22 am
    Post #5 - September 27th, 2012, 9:22 am Post #5 - September 27th, 2012, 9:22 am
    For my mother's 80th birthday this summer I wanted to serve a meal that evoked nostalgia for holidays past when we feasted on either quail or Canadian bacon. Wild rice was always the side dish, the thing I looked forward to most of all. The challenge for my Mom's birthday was to create something that could be served on a 95-degree night. Here is the salad that I came up with. (I think the dressing is especially good.)

    It seems the celery root is the magic ingredient- do no omit it. Also, it is essential to caramelize the shallots.

    The overall success of the dish lies in two things: 1) Preserving the taste and texture of the individual ingredients 2) The relative contribution of those ingredients and their balance. This must sound like Cooking 101 to most of you, but I have rarely found that advice as useful as it was in preparing this seemingly simple salad.

    Using long grain wild rice (such as Ramy brand) is important to achieve the proper texture. In addition, it is very easy for the balance of the salad to go awry. Amounts given below are guidelines, and you may want to use more or less of any ingredient. I used fewer grapes than I had anticipated, for instance, and fewer pecans. Taste again and again, and add what you think is needed to achieve a mouthful that gives you a little of each flavor: grassy (wild rice, parsley, scallion), rich/funky/salty (Canadian bacon), nearly sharp vegetal (celery, celeriac), earthy (wild rice, black walnut oil, pecans) and sweet/caramel/winey/oniony (grapes, shallots, sherry vinegar, fig vincotto), This salad is best if combined a few hours before it is served. I cannot stress this enough. Leaving it overnight to combine results in a different dish entirely, a wetter, oilier dish that lacks the crunchy textures that are vital.

    Wild Rice Salad with Canadian Bacon

    1 lb. long grain wild rice, preferably Ramy brand
    1 cup celery in quarter-inch dice
    3/4 cup celeriac (celery root) in quarter-inch dice
    3/4 cup jicama in quarter-inch dice
    3/4 cup green seedless grapes, quartered
    1/3 cup toasted pecans, chopped (not too finely)
    1/2 lb. canadian bacon (sliced thinly and cut into 1/2 inch squares
    2 T. to 1/4 cup finely chopped scallions (green only)
    Salt and pepper - to be added at final assembly

    Dressing:

    Note: Here I give the minimum amount of dressing. How much you use depends a great deal on how soft the rice comes out and how well the rice is drained, as well as how long it has been chilled, which dries it out. You may make double this much dressing- I did, and added a couple of tablespoons to the salad just before serving. However, it is very important to keep the proportions of the dressing as-is. If you do not, the flavors will be dominated by one of the ingredients only. It is also important to chop the parsley as finely as possible, almost crushing it into a paste, but not quite, and to disperse it in the dressing just before combining the salad ingredients, rather than adding it directly to the salad. Any clumps of parsley-or too much parsley- will totally dominate and ruin the salad. However, it is needed for a hint of green flavor.

    6 large shallots, sliced
    2 T. olive oil
    2 T. Fig Vincotto Vinegar, Giani Calogiuri Brand
    2 T. Sherry Vinegar (Jose de Soto Vinagre de Jerez)
    2 T. Hammon's Roasted American Black Walnut Oil
    4 T. Canola oil
    2 t. very very finely chopped parsley


    Directions:

    Day 1:
    1. Prepare wild rice the day before you will serve the salad with repeated soaking/draining method detailed upthread. This method preserves the integrity of the grains, and prevents mush. Watch carefully. Not all the grains will be swollen. Some will remain black and intact. This adds to the textural interest of the dish, though you want at least half to three-quarters of the grains to be gray and fluffy. Cover and chill rice overnight.

    Day 2:
    2. Dice the celery, celery root and jicama. Ideally, you do this early on the day the salad is to be served. You can do it on the previous day, (i. e. on the same day you make the rice). If you do this, separately refrigerate the vegetables, the scallion, and the grapes to combine the following day. (The grapes may be somewhat the worse for being prepared the previous day- you might want to save this for the day of serving.)

    3. Prepare the Canadian Bacon (CB)- I used the Jones pre-sliced CB from Costco, and it worked well. You may prefer a meatier-textured Canadian bacon. Country ham fans might substitute shreds of that ham, adjusting salt in dressing, but the salad will not look as pretty. Brown CB slightly in a pan barely kissed with olive oil. Cut into squares. (As nit-picky as that seems, the look of the CB squares is important to the finished salad, as are the properly quartered grapes.)

    4. Toast the pecans and set aside to cool. Reserve for adding just before serving.

    5. Make dressing as follows: Slice and over very low heat, slowly caramelize shallots in 2 T. Olive Oil. (I don't know why I used olive oil, when there is no olive oil in the rest of the dressing, but that is how I did it, and it turned out well, so why mess with it?). The caramelization process will take about a half hour. Do not rush. You do not want any burned flavors.

    6. Combine oils, vinegar, fig vincotto and caramelized shallots. Let cool. Refrigerate until the following day, when you will assemble the salad.

    7. The following day, a few hours before serving: Add parsley to dressing. Stir. Assemble rice, Canadian bacon, vegetables, grapes and scallions. Dress salad, gingerly adding dressing until you judge the whole slightly under-dressed. Refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator at least a half-hour before serving. Adjust seasoning, adding dressing, salt and pepper as you see fit. Add roasted pecans last, to retain their crunch. Salad should be served cool, but not chilled, and not quite at room temperature.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #6 - November 15th, 2012, 2:52 pm
    Post #6 - November 15th, 2012, 2:52 pm Post #6 - November 15th, 2012, 2:52 pm
    I thought I would post the original family recipe for Holiday Wild Rice for my friend Kira. The beauty of it is that it can be done ahead and frozen if you use the soaking method below. ( I quote from my own original post here.)

    1) Rinse quantity of rice desired in cold water. (usually 1-2 lb.)
    2) Place rice in heatproof glass or metal bowl.
    3) Boil up enough water to cover the rice.
    4) Pour boiling water over rice.
    5) Cover rice and wait until water cools down to warm.
    6) Rinse rice, pouring off the warm water.
    7) Repeat boil and cool process until rice achieves desired texture. N.B. This could take an afternoon! But you really can't ruin it-- at least I never have. You must taste for texture appraisal. You can't tell by looking! The grains should mostly be intact, but some will have begun to pop and curl, turning gray. If the grains are slightly undercooked this way, they tolerate freezing well combined with the vegetable mixture given below, and can be rewarmed with a bit of chicken or turkey broth prior to serving.

    For each pound of rice prepare the following:

    2 cups of diced celery
    1 medium yellow onion, diced
    2 small cans water chestnuts, chopped coarsely or sliced
    up to 1 stick butter
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1) Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat.
    2) Add onion and saute until it begins to turn translucent.
    3) Add celery and cook until celery also begins to appear translucent.
    4) Remove from heat, season, and combine with wild rice in baking dish.
    5) Freeze entire baking dish of rice, well-wrapped.

    On the day:

    Remove rice dish from freezer to thaw. If it is only partially thawed that is OK. However, make sure not to stress the pyrex or ceramic with a sudden temperature change. I have heated this dish covered in the microwave with good results. Usually, I add 1/2 cup of broth (and up to a cup) per pound of rice to pop more of the grains before serving. Whether or not you do this depends on the size of the grains. It is best to test a few grains by tasting to achieve the desire result. Sometimes I enjoy taking the cover off the dish and blasting the rice for a few minutes in the oven to give a bit of crunch to the top layer of grains. This can also dry it out a bit if you have added too much broth.

    Serve with this sauce (a version of Cumberland Sauce). It enhances all manner of poultry and game:

    Aunt Mary's Shotgun Sauce

    Melt together these ingredients:

    1 8 oz. jar red currant jelly
    1 stick unsalted butter
    3-4 Tablespoons Worchestershire Sauce
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #7 - November 22nd, 2013, 1:39 pm
    Post #7 - November 22nd, 2013, 1:39 pm Post #7 - November 22nd, 2013, 1:39 pm
    Thanks Josephine! I read your post and called the Ramy Wild Rice Company. I wasn't sure they would still be in business since your first wild rice post was from 2006. I was happy to learn they have been in business since 1932 and they are still going strong.

    I placed my order today and was told it will arrive before Thanksgiving. Originally from Minnesota, it wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving without wild rice.

    Ramy Wild Rice Company
    1329 N. River Front Drive
    Mankato, MN 56001
    (800) 658-7269
  • Post #8 - November 22nd, 2013, 1:46 pm
    Post #8 - November 22nd, 2013, 1:46 pm Post #8 - November 22nd, 2013, 1:46 pm
    janeyb wrote:Originally from Minnesota, it wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving without wild rice.


    How right you are, janeyb! In fact, it wouldn't be a holiday of any kind without wild rice. I'm now having to reiterate that to my Chicago born and bred daughter every time she sighs about my invariant holiday menus. She does not know how expensive and special it was for us to have it in the old days. This just spurs me on to greater heights in my wild rice recipe development. I am now working on wild rice-based tamales.

    I'm so glad you called the Ramy people. And I think you will be amazed at the quality. If you come up with any new recipes, would you please post in this thread?
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #9 - November 22nd, 2013, 2:05 pm
    Post #9 - November 22nd, 2013, 2:05 pm Post #9 - November 22nd, 2013, 2:05 pm
    Hi Josephine, I was looking at your friend, Kira's recipe. I've also got my eye on one that includes fruit and pecans. Another includes carrots and cranberries. Will review with my 24-year-old son, who reminded me that this is his favorite Thanksgiving side. We're going to make it together and I'd be happy to share here.
  • Post #10 - November 22nd, 2013, 3:57 pm
    Post #10 - November 22nd, 2013, 3:57 pm Post #10 - November 22nd, 2013, 3:57 pm
    janeyb wrote:Hi Josephine, I was looking at your friend, Kira's recipe. I've also got my eye on one that includes fruit and pecans. Another includes carrots and cranberries. Will review with my 24-year-old son, who reminded me that this is his favorite Thanksgiving side. We're going to make it together and I'd be happy to share here.


    Great! I look forward to more new wild rice recipes. Recently, I have found that the combination of wild rice and dill is most fortuitous. The dill brings out the grassiness of the rice. Some dill and diced onion or freshly snipped chives and butter might make a nice simple dish for those who don't want to do much to the rice.

    And, for janeyb and other Minnesotans, I must confess a personal habit in dealing with wild rice: that of not wasting a single grain. While this can lead to extreme measures to retrieve grains from the sink, I have the idea that to waste a grain is a type of sin against Nature. Perhaps someone told me this as a child, I don't remember. Perhaps it is based in some Native American tradition regarding the rice. I don't know. But observing this rule centers me while cooking and makes the hoilday a more contemplative experience, which seems fitting.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #11 - November 24th, 2021, 4:27 pm
    Post #11 - November 24th, 2021, 4:27 pm Post #11 - November 24th, 2021, 4:27 pm
    Hi,

    I had a 4-ounce container of Reese's wild rice on the shelf. I remembered Josephine's wild rice dressing.

    I inherited my Zojirushi rice cooker from a Japanese woman. My bowl has Japanese script and the settings are: regular, harder, softer, porridge. Wherever I looked up how to cook wild rice, it was the 'brown rice' setting I do not have. I set it to regular, then let it come to full boil. It never seemed to settle down, so I turn it off. After about 15 minutes, I turned it back on until it boiled, then turned it off for 15 minutes. I believe I did this one more time. After this final rest, the liquid was largely gone and the wild rice was tender. This made just over two-cups of rice and perhaps more once fluffed.

    I lightly fried an onion, added about half-pound sliced mushrooms and finished with a mixture of celery* and finely minced parsley stems, then seasoned with salt and pepper.

    I might add some chopped dried cherries when I reheat, though presently I am pretty happy as-is.

    I made a pomegranate cranberry sauce, which I think will be great stand-in for Cumberland sauce.


    *Celery - I made pork chop suey for dinner yesterday requiring one pound of celery. I did a fine job of diminishing my celery. I need some tomorrow for making gravy. What was I thinking?

    I thought I would post the original family recipe for Holiday Wild Rice for my friend Kira. The beauty of it is that it can be done ahead and frozen if you use the soaking method below. ( I quote from my own original post here.)

    1) Rinse quantity of rice desired in cold water. (usually 1-2 lb.)
    2) Place rice in heatproof glass or metal bowl.
    3) Boil up enough water to cover the rice.
    4) Pour boiling water over rice.
    5) Cover rice and wait until water cools down to warm.
    6) Rinse rice, pouring off the warm water.
    7) Repeat boil and cool process until rice achieves desired texture. N.B. This could take an afternoon! But you really can't ruin it-- at least I never have. You must taste for texture appraisal. You can't tell by looking! The grains should mostly be intact, but some will have begun to pop and curl, turning gray. If the grains are slightly undercooked this way, they tolerate freezing well combined with the vegetable mixture given below, and can be rewarmed with a bit of chicken or turkey broth prior to serving.

    For each pound of rice prepare the following:

    2 cups of diced celery
    1 medium yellow onion, diced
    2 small cans water chestnuts, chopped coarsely or sliced
    up to 1 stick butter
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1) Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat.
    2) Add onion and saute until it begins to turn translucent.
    3) Add celery and cook until celery also begins to appear translucent.
    4) Remove from heat, season, and combine with wild rice in baking dish.
    5) Freeze entire baking dish of rice, well-wrapped.

    On the day:

    Remove rice dish from freezer to thaw. If it is only partially thawed that is OK. However, make sure not to stress the pyrex or ceramic with a sudden temperature change. I have heated this dish covered in the microwave with good results. Usually, I add 1/2 cup of broth (and up to a cup) per pound of rice to pop more of the grains before serving. Whether or not you do this depends on the size of the grains. It is best to test a few grains by tasting to achieve the desire result. Sometimes I enjoy taking the cover off the dish and blasting the rice for a few minutes in the oven to give a bit of crunch to the top layer of grains. This can also dry it out a bit if you have added too much broth.

    Serve with this sauce (a version of Cumberland Sauce). It enhances all manner of poultry and game:

    Aunt Mary's Shotgun Sauce

    Melt together these ingredients:

    1 8 oz. jar red currant jelly
    1 stick unsalted butter
    3-4 Tablespoons Worchestershire Sauce
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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