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You can tame wild rice.

CULTIVATED WILD rice is a paradox, but a reality. This native of the northern Great Lakes area has been transplanted to the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys of California. And whereas the yield from wild rice gathered in its native habitat is quite sparse, 13,000 California acres are now producing about 3,500 tons of wild rice annually.

Even so, the product is not exactly flooding the market. Regular rice yields about 5,100 pounds of grain per acre; cultivated wild rice produces about 600 pounds.

Grains of cultivated wild rice are larger than the truly wild, but both have a rich, nutty flavor and a firm, chewy texture. Cultivated rice is more affordable.

Wild rice takes 2 to 3 times longer to cook than white rice and, unlike white rice, cannot be sauteed before it's cooked in liquid--the grains become hard and will no longer absorb liquid. We detail three convenient ways to cook wild rice: simmering, quick-simmering, and microwaving. The time that it takes wild rice to become tender to bite varies with the size of the grain and its relative freshness; use times given as guides, then check and adjust as needed. Cooked wild rice stores and reheats well.

The flavorful dishes that follow offer a range of ways to use wild rice: a hearty pilaf, a main-dish souffle, a robust breakfast combination, and a baked dessert.

Wild Rice and Barley Pilaf
1 small onion, minced
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup wild rice
3 1/2 cups regular-strength chicken broth
1/2 cup pearl barley
 Salt and pepper

In a 12-inch frying pan or 2- to 3-quart pan, combine onion, mushrooms, garlic, and 1/2 cup water. Cook, uncovered, on high heat until liquid evaporates and a brown film forms in pan, about 15 minutes; stir often. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons water and stir to free the brown film; cook until the film forms again. Repeat this step 4 or 5 times until onions are richly browned, about 15 minutes.

Rinse and drain rice. Mix with broth in pan. Bring to a boil on high heat; cover, and simmer 30 minutes. Rinse and drain barley. Add to rice; simmer until grains are tender to bite but just slightly chewy, about 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 5 or 6 servings.

Per serving: 184 cal. (7.3 percent from fat); 7.8 g protein; 1.5 g fat (0.7 g sat.); 217 g carbo.; 36 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Wild Rice Souffle
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup minced parsley
1 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup nonfat milk
2 tablespoons dry sherry or dry white wine
1 1/4 cups (about 5 oz.) shredded gruyere cheese
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup cooked wild rice (cooked in broth; instructions
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan over medium-high heat, stir butter with parsley, tarragon, and nutmeg until butter melts. Add flour and stir until it begins to brown slightly, 2 or 3 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and smoothly stir in milk and sherry. Stir over high heat until boiling. Add 1 cup cheese; off the heat, stir until cheese melts. Stir yolks into sauce, then mix in rice.

In a deep bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer on high speed until whites form soft, moist peaks. Stir about 1/3 of the whites into rice mixture, then gently fold in remaining whites.

Pour mixture into a buttered, straight-sided 1 1/2- to 2-quart souffle dish or deep casserole. Sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese. Bake in a 350|degrees~ oven until top is richly browned, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Per serving: 237 cal. (53 percent from fat); 14 g protein; 14 g fat (4.3 g sat.); 14 g carbo.; 163 mg sodium; 143 mg chol.

Cooked Wild Rice

Rinse wild rice with cool water in a fine strainer. Cook by any of the following methods. Drain and serve hot, seasoned with salt to taste; use in these recipes, or cold (as in salads).

Cooked, 1 cup wild rice makes about 3 cups (it fluffs as it cools, and measures bit more). If rice is cooked ahead, chill airtight up to 1 week; freeze to store longer.

Per 1 cup: 191 cal. (2.4 percent from fat); 7.9 g protein; 0.5 g fat (0.1 g sat.); 40 g carbo.; 3.7 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

To simmer, bring 1 cup rinsed wild rice and 2 cups water or regular-strength chicken or beef broth to boil in a 1 1/2 to 2-quart pan on high heat. Cover; simmer until grains begin to split and are tender to bite, yet slightly chewy, about 40 minutes.

To quick simmer, bring 2 cups water or regular-strength chicken or beef broth to boiling in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan; add 1 cup rinsed wild rice. Cover; remove from heat and let stand 4 to 12 hours. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until grains begin to split and are tender to bite, yet slightly chewy, 10 to 25 minutes.

To microwave, put 1 cup rinsed wild rice in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart microwave-safe deep bowl. Add 2 cups water or regular-strength chicken or beef broth. Cover; bring to a boil in a microwave oven at full power (100 percent), about 8 minutes. Reduce power to medium (50 percent) and cook until grains begin to split and are tender to bite, yet slightly chewy, about 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes.

To reheat in the oven, put 1 recipe's worth cooked wild rice in a 3- to 4-cup casserole, cover, and bake at 375|degrees~ until hot, about 15 minutes (25 minutes if frozen).

To reheat in a microwave oven, put rice in a 3- to 4-cup microwave-safe dish; cover. Heat at full power (100 percent) until hot, 2 to 3 minutes (3 to 4 minutes if frozen).

Wild Rice Breakfast
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
 At least 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large (about 1/2 lb.) Golden Delicious apple, peeled,
cored, and thinly sliced
1 medium-size (about 5 oz.) ripe banana, peeled and sliced
1 recipe's worth hot cooked wild rice (preceding)
 About 1 1/2 cups warm milk

In a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, melt butter with 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon. Add apple; turn fruit as needed until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add banana and heat until warm, about 3 minutes; turn slices once. Spoon rice into bowls, top with fruit, and add milk and sugar to taste. Serves 4 to 6.

Per serving with 1/3 cup milk: 211 cal. (22 percent from fat); 6.9 g protein; 5.1 g fat (3 g sat.); 37 g carbo.; 63 mg sodium; 17 mg chol.

Wild rice breakfast with bananas. Follow preceding directions for wild rice breakfast, but omit apple and use 2 medium-size ripe bananas (about 2/3 lb. total). Add 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract to milk.

Per serving with 1/3 cup milk: 216 cal. (21 percent from fat); 7 g protein; 5.1 g fat (3 g sat.); 38 g carbo.; 63 mg sodium; 17 mg chol.

Wild Rice Pudding
4 cups milk
1 cup cooked wild rice (cooked with water, preceding)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
 Softly whipped cream

Mix milk with rice, sugar, and vanilla in an 8- to 9-inch square pan. Bake, uncovered, in a 350|degrees~ oven for 45 minutes; stir crust into rice. Bake, stirring 3 or 4 times, until most of the milk is absorbed, about 1 1/2 hours longer. Spoon into bowls and serve hot or cool, topped with whipped cream. If making ahead, cover and chill up to 1 day. Serves 4 or 5.

Per serving: 237 cal. (25 percent from fat); 8 g protein; 6.6 g fat (4.1 g sat.); 37 g carbo.; 97 mg sodium; 27 mg chol.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Author:Weber, Christine B.
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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