diane lochner

Wild rice, Minnesota’s state grain, makes a perfect addition to your table this time of year, and can feature in more than just side dishes.  Below are a variety of recipes incorporating wild rice — perfect for everyday or holiday gatherings.  

For an excellent overview of our region’s wild rice heritage, harvesting, and importance to indigenous communities, I recommend the Minnesota Historical Society’s Fall 2022 issue of Minnesota History.

Wild rice with mushrooms and almonds

Betty Crocker’s Cookbook: New and Revised Edition, 1982.

1 cup uncooked wild rice

1/2 cup slivered almonds

2 tablespoons snipped chives or chopped green onion

1 can (8 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained

1/4 cup margarine or butter

3 cups chicken broth

Cook and stir wild rice, almonds, chives, and mushrooms in margarine (or butter) until almonds are golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Heat oven to 325 F.  Pour wild rice mixture into ungreased 1-1/2 quart casserole.  On the stove, heat broth to boiling; stir into wild rice mixture.  Cover and bake until all liquid is absorbed and wild rice is tender and fluffy, about 90 minutes.  Serves 6 to 8.

Cranberry wild rice

Perfect Party Food, by Diane Phillips, 2005

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup finely chopped shallots

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1 cup unsweetened dried cranberries

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup chicken broth

2 cups wild rice, cooked according to the package directions

Coat a 3-quart casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, and sage, and cook, stirring, until fragrant and the shallots have softened, about 4 minutes.  Add the cranberries, salt, pepper, and broth and bring to a boil.  Stir in the wild rice. Transfer to the prepared dish and cover with aluminum foil.

Do-Ahead:  At this point, you can refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Bring to room temperature before baking.

Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes.

Serves 10 to 12 as a side dish.  Makes great leftovers to send home with guests.  Make it vegetarian by swapping the chicken broth for vegetable broth.

Fried wild rice bowl

The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, by Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley, 2017

2 tablespoons sunflower oil

1/2 cup minced squash (butternut, zucchini, or summer squash)

1/2 cup minced turnip

1 cup fresh wild onion or ramps

3 cups cooked wild rice

2 tablespoons maple syrup mixed with 1/3 cup water

Salt to taste

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium to high heat and sauté the squash, turnip, and onion until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Add the rice and cook for about 1 minute, then season with the maple syrup and salt.  Optional: serve topped with roasted vegetables, smoked meats, or anything of your choice.  Substitute one leek (white part, cleaned and minced) for the wild onion or ramps.

Wild rice muffins

Wild Rice Cooking: History, Natural History, Harvesting, and Lore, by Susan Carol Hauser, 2000

1 cup cooked wild rice (cooked according to package directions)

3 eggs, lightly beaten

7 tablespoons oil

1 cup milk

1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Stir wild rice with eggs, oil, and milk.  Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Stir liquid ingredients into dry, mixing thoroughly. Stir in walnuts and spoon batter into paper muffin cups.  Bake at 425 F for 15-18 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned. Makes 12 muffins.

Wild rice meat loaf

Wild Rice Cooking: History, Natural History, Harvesting, and Lore, by Susan Carol Hauser, 2000

1 pound ground beef

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups cooked wild rice, cooked according to package directions

2 stalks celery, chopped

3/4 fresh mushrooms, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Meat loaf:

Combine all ingredients and mix well. Put into a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.  Bake at 350 F for one hour.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes.  Drain excess juices and turn loaf out onto serving platter.  Slice and top with cheese sauce.

Cheese sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Melt butter over low heat and stir in flour, blending well.  Slowly stir in milk, cooking and stirring constantly.  Cook until smooth and thickened.  Add cheese and stir until cheese is melted.

Serves 4 to 6.

Midwest wild rice salad

Perfect Party Food, by Diane Phillips, 2005

Dressing:

1 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 clove garlic, mashed

To make the dressing, in a medium size bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until thickened.  [Do ahead: at this point, you can cover and refrigerate for up to three days].

Salad:

4 cups cooked long grain white rice, cooled

1 cup cooked wild rice, cooled

2 cups frozen corn kernels, defrosted

1 medium size red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

4 scallions (white and tender green parts), chopped

To make the salad, combine the rices, corn, bell pepper, and half of the scallions in a large salad bowl.  Pour in some of the dressing, and toss to coat, adding more if necessary.  [Do ahead: At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the salad and remaining dressing for at least one hour and up to 24 hours].

Remove the salad from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving, toss with additional dressing if needed, and garnish with the remaining scallions.

Diane Lochner is a librarian and home cook, living on a century farm in rural Minnesota.  She can be reached at 507bookcook@gmail.com         

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