Monday, September 20, 2010

Raiding the Pantry

My pantry and freezer are a disaster.  I'm not talking a little cluttered.  I'm talking a call out hazmat and put on the yellow biohazard suit sort of disaster.  Okay....maybe not quite that bad.  But still, not ideal in any sense of the word.  I've got a lot of stuff in there and I don't even know what most of it is.

So here's my plan...every Tuesday I'm gonna stick my hand in there (hope nothing bites it) and pull something out.

This week I've got this:

Long Grain Wild Rice.

I don't know when I bought this, or why I have never bothered to cook it.  I really like wild rice.  So I went to my go-to source for recipes - Cook's Illustrated and found a recipe for Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Dried Cranberries.  Not only would this allow me to use the wild rice, but the pecans and cranberries in my pantry as well.  Score!!

I will post the full recipe from Cook's Illustrated below, but here are the highlights.

First I collected up all my ingredients.  I'm using cranberries and pecans, but I bet you could use just about any dried fruit and nut that you had on hand.  You may also notice that I'm using store bought stock here.  This is one of the concessions I had to make when I went from being a foodie to a foodie momma.  Someday, when the kids are all in school, I'll make real stock again, until then it's Swanson.

You boil the wild rice in some stock with a bay leaf and some thyme. 

Meanwhile I sauteed the veggies in some butter and then added the white rice and some water.  The cranberries get sprinkled on top and both pans putter away for a while.

 Finally, you mix the rices together with some parsley and the toasted nuts. 

This dish turned out to be really delicious.  Making the wild rice was harder than making regular white rice, but really not that much harder.  And I think that the extra effort is worth it.  My oldest son has already given it the thumbs and and ate some for his after school snack!  
I'm serving it with Roasted Pork with Peach sauce and steamed Broccoli.

Check below for the complete recipe!




Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Dried Cranberries


1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
8 sprigs fresh thyme , divided into 2 bundles, each tied together with kitchen twine
1 cup wild rice , rinsed well and picked over
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion , chopped fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 large carrot , chopped fine (about 1 cup)

table salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries , sweetened or unsweetened
3/4 cup pecans , toasted in small dry skillet over medium heat unitl fragrant and lightly browned, about 6 minutes, then chopped coarse
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Ground black pepper


  1. Bring chicken broth, 1/4 cup water, bay leaves, and 1 bundle thyme to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add wild rice, cover, and reduce heat to low; simmer until rice is plump and tender and has absorbed most liquid, 35 to 45 minutes. Drain rice in mesh strainer to remove excess liquid. Return rice to now-empty saucepan; cover to keep warm and set aside.
  2. While wild rice is cooking, place white rice in medium bowl and cover with 2 inches water; gently swish grains to release excess starch. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Repeat about 5 times, until water runs almost clear. Drain rice in mesh strainer.
  3. Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foam subsides, about 2 minutes. Add onion, carrot, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add rinsed white rice and stir to coat grains with butter; cook, stirring frequently, until grains begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 2 1/4 cups water to boil in small saucepan or in microwave. Add boiling water and second thyme bundle to rice; return to boil, then reduce heat to low, sprinkle cranberries evenly over rice, and cover. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 16 to 18 minutes. Off heat, fluff rice with fork.
  4. Combine wild rice, white rice mixture, pecans, and parsley in large bowl; toss with rubber spatula. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.

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