Monday, January 13, 2014

Wild Rice Pilaf

I'm having a hard time being positive about this Wild Rice Pilaf because I'm on a maniacal fruit cleanse where you pretty much starve yourself for 7 days (not really, but I told you I'm not feeling very positive). Something ridiculous about going on a tropical cruise with 5 other svelte women drives you into a starvation diet. Or maybe it's the obnoxious fact that this cruise is timed right after the eating and drinking holiday madness. Either way, I loathe myself for even saying the word diet. I don't diet! I just eat small portions (only a half truth) - and I make good choices like fruits and veggies (sometimes true - love my Twizzlers!). And I work out - a lot (this is pretty much true). Sigh. But, I am dieting. 

However! I do feel powerful saying NO! to coffee - even for a couple days. I cannot describe the fog on the first morning or raging headache that same afternoon (absolutely positively going back to coffee once this madness is over). However! I literally JUMPED out of bed the second day, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Two great things are developing from my diet: self-control and an inner body cleanse that is energy giving. Om. I release all bad feelings from this cleanse into the universe and grab onto peace and calm and wild rice. Come.

See? Super Food Mushrooms. Anything labelled "super food" is good for you. Scientific research I conducted pointed 100% to that.
My mushrooms and onions were sautéed in a little butter (was considering using coconut oil to make this vegan, but didn't - would love to hear any feedback on how to make this vegan). Then I added a little salt to help all the liquid evaporate from the vedge. When that was done cooking down and looked all brown and beautiful I added some fresh garlic and thyme, a little soy sauce and some sherry cooking wine. It's a very good thing.

Important Cooking Note! You'll want to start your wild rice before all the sautéing action gets movin' and grooving', because the vedge will only take about 20 minutes from start to end. So, get that wild rice bubblin' and close your nostrils because you'll think something puked in the corner, but then you'll realize (after you blow into your palm three times wondering why your breath suddenly smells like rot) it's the wild rice.
I imagine this Wild Rice Pilaf would taste simply divine next to a meaty T-bone or atop a deliciously grilled chicken breast, however I can only imagine those things, because I ate mine simply straight up in a bowl for supper. The rest was thrown into a ziploc baggie because someone began eating only fruit and all leftovers needed to be eradicated immediately to stave off any forthcoming cravings. That frozen ziploc treasure will make a delicious soup addition after I'm back to eating like a normal person - you know, carbs and sugar? Yeah, that stuff. 

Update (2/20/14): This dish freezes stupendously! When I cooked this a huge amount was leftover - I thought I could freeze and use in a soup later - so, I froze about 4 cups of the cooled rice in a ziploc bag laid flat in the freezer. When I wanted to serve it with Almond-Parmesan Crusted Walleye I just simply took the bag out of the freezer, popped the contents onto a microwave-safe dish and microwaved for 5 minutes, stirring at the halfway point. Seriously Brilliant.

Printable Recipe Here

Wild Rice Pilaf
1 cup wild rice
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 8 oz. container mushrooms, sliced
1 medium-sized onion, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup sherry
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

In a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid place wild rice, water, and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer gently over moderate heat for about 40-45 minutes, until rice is tender and chewy. There can be a little bit of liquid left in the pot, just strain that off. Or, alternately, you may need to add water - that is OK.

In a cast iron skillet melt 1/2 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms and diced onion and sauté over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper after the vedge begins to take on color. Add minced garlic and thyme and sauté for 30 seconds. Deglaze with soy sauce and sherry, let the liquid cook out almost completely. Add cooked wild rice and remaining butter. Stir to melt and combine. Add parsley and more salt and pepper, if desired. Serve hot or room temperature.

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I'd love to hear all about your kitchen adventures! Xo, Becki