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WILD RICE PILAF

Although I do have a number of rice dishes on this blog….rice is not my favorite side dish.  Never has been. (unless it is Risotto or a lovely dessert rice pudding) However, if you make it into a pilaf, adding numerous flavorings and other ingredients, it creates a flavorful side dish indeed.

We recently discovered this wild rice blend by Lundberg.  It is a blend of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, whole grain wehani rice, and whole grain black japonica rice.  Wehani and black Japonica rice? We have never heard of these types of rice before but I must say there was great flavor and texture in this rice blend.  No paid advertisement here…just wanting to share something new we all enjoyed.

I have found with these rice blends there is always the need to add more liquid and a longer cooking time than what the directions recommend…personally I do not care for crunchy rice! With the added cooking time and extra ingredients this created a lovely side dish to any main meal.

1 cup of wild rice blend

2 1/4 cups chicken stock

1 bay leaf

3 crimini mushrooms, diced

1 large shallot, diced

3 minced garlic cloves

2 big Tblsp. finely diced celery with leaves

2 Tblsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 – 2 Tblsp. butter

1 Tblsp. tomato paste and 1/4 cup water, mixed well

a few splashes balsamic vinegar

season blend:  1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1/2 tsp. dried fennel, 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, 2 tsp. dried ground garlic, 1 Tblsp. dried parsley, salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Add the chicken stock, bay leaf, and rice to a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Stir with a fork, cover with a lid, and turn down to a low simmer.  Cook for about 1 hour.

Remove from heat, toss with a fork, then lid back on and let sit for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up a large saute pan on low medium heat with the EVOO and butter.  Add the mushrooms, shallot, garlic, and finely diced celery.  Saute about 10 minutes.  Then add in the seasoning blend, tomato paste with water, and the balsamic vinegar stirring well to combine.  Continue to saute for another 5 minutes.  Add the rice, mixing well.  Keep on a low heat, stirring until heated through well.  Serve alongside any main dish.

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