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Wild Rice is Nutty, Earthy, and Bold

Try this native American grain in salads, stews, pilafs, and even waffles

by Judy Monroe

fromFine Cooking
Issue 11

This article will encourage you to buy that bag of wild rice that has been tempting you at the market. It explains that most wild rice is not really wild, but cultivated in man-made paddies; truly wild rice is called “natural,” and is harvested by hand from the shallow waters around northern lakes. Natural rice may be parched, or roasted, over an open fire or by machines. (A photograph shows what these different varieties of wild rice look like.) Though wild rice is costly per pound, its cost per serving is low, since its grains triple or even quadruple in volume when cooked. Wild rice’s impressive nutritional profile--it’s high in protein, fiber, carbohydrates, minerals, and three B vitamins--also adds to its value. 

Monroe tells us how to cook both cultivated and natural rice; she also addresses rinsing, seasoning, and storing. Now that you know how to prepare wild rice, Monroe wants to share ways you can use it in salads, in soups and stews, in grain dishes such as pilafs, with poultry as a stuffing, with mushrooms, and as a snack. Mail-order sources for natural wild rice are given at the end of the article. Featured recipe: Wild Rice & Smoked Chicken Chowder.

Photo: Mary Ellen Bartley & David Reinke

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