Wild rice is a nutritional powerhouse compared to its cousin, white rice and even beats out its other cousin, brown rice. With more protein and fiber and less sugar, it the rice with the lowest glycemic index.
If you have Diabetes or Celiac's Disease or someone you know and love has Diabetes and Celiac's Disease (some of my family members), wild rice is a good alternative side for those with sugar issues or a wheat intolerance or allergy. It also has vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B9 and includes the minerals iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc and magnesium.
Combine some wild rice with some sauteed spinach and an assortment of whatever wild mushrooms you can find and the result is delicious AND nutritious. I've managed to get at least my younger kid to eat it. And my daughter will eat it if I pick out the mushrooms!
I will confess it took me some time (we are talking months to years) to figure out exactly how to cook wild rice because I've found that the cooking time can vary a great deal. Sometimes it can take upwards of an hour after it starts simmering, sometimes its pops at 45 minutes.
But let me cut out that "trial period" for you by providing a little assistance. My recommendation is the following: If you are making it for the first time, just tell yourself that it could take at least an hour or an hour and ten minutes overall so you aren't thinking it's like white or even brown rice in terms of cooking time. Otherwise, your impatience can take ahold of you and dominate over reason. Suddenly you and your family or friends are crunching on little black grains that resemble and crunch like insects. NOT APPEALING.
Wild rice can be an acquired taste. But the earthy taste of the wild rice matches wonderfully with some wild mushrooms sauteed with shallots, thyme and parsley and some sautéed spinach with garlic and paprika.
Consider pairing this side with some steamed green beans tossed with a little butter or oil and dill and Cedar Planked Salmon and you'll win picky eaters over because the flavors work marvelously together. I did manage to get a few compliments when this combination was an option for guests this past Saturday night at a big buffet dinner so try it out yourself!
Wild Rice with Wild Mushrooms and Sauteed Spinach
A nutricious and delicious side of wild rice, wild mushrooms and spinach. Make it and a little extra for a dinner party and reheat leftovers during the week.
- 4 cups water or chicken broth (for extra taste)
- 1 cup wild rice
- 6 cups assorted wild mushrooms sliced (e.g., oyster, shitake, cremini)
- 1-2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp shallots, minced
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 tsp parsley
- 2 tsp thyme
- Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 cups baby spinach
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp butter (optional)
- Bring rice and water or stock to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour, until rice begins to burst open and you can see the grayish-white center of the rice.
- Meanwhile, on medium high heat, melt butter in a large saute pan until it begins to just brown. Add mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms release their water and the water evaporates off, approximately 10-12 minutes.
- Add shallots and cook for an additional 2 minutes until shallots are tender.
- Add wine and cook for another 1-2 minutes until wine is absorbed.
- Toss in parsley, thyme and salt and pepper and toss for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium high heat. Add spinach and saute until wilted, about 3-4 minutes. Toss in paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
- Once rice is cooked, drain the rice and add in 1 tbsp butter (optional) and mix in mushrooms and spinach. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Julie du Pont is a Darien resident, mom, lawyer. She blogs about food and entertaining at http://www.weekendtable.com.
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