Holiday Wild Rice

Growing up in Minnesota, wild rice was a treat at our house during the holidays. An expensive and “exotic” food purchased locally, it was only brought out during Thanksgiving and Christmas. I think my dad and I were the only ones who loved it and could eat it cold while standing in front of the fridge. It’s now available in every grocery store in many different brands.

Wild Rice is actually a grass that is grown in northern minnesota  and Canada and has been a longtime staple of the Native American diet and culture.  When I cook it now, it immediately brings back memories of my childhood, winter, snow and family.

My dad used to soak it overnight before cooking, but I just bring it to boil and let simmer while covered for about 40 minutes or until the rice opens to a soft grey color.

I add chopped celery, onions and garlic to a baking dish- or you could saute them in oil/butter first.

I stir in the rice  and add some grated sharp cheddar- not much,  just for flavor and chicken broth to moisten. I am a big fan of the nutty, earthy taste of the rice and I never want to mask it’s flavor with a lot of seasoning or, God forbid, a can of soup.

I sprinkled cashews on top and baked on low for about 30 minutes covered.  I admit I added a dash of tamari and it was a mistake- it turned the mushrooms almost black and added an extra unnecessary flavor. Keeping it simple and learning to enjoy the true taste of real foods is so much more rewarding than complicated recipes. 

Other add in ideas could be: dried fruit, cranberries, chopped apples and walnuts.  Just please no soup.


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