Authentic Wild Rice and Fungi

Photo courtesy of Karla Dudley

The key to this recipe is using the proper ingredients. What is usually sold at
supermarkets is not wild rice and hardly wild. Authentic wild rice is Native
American hand-harvested by canoe, and wood fire parched. What we think of
as wild rice is cultivated, grown in paddies, and machine harvested once.
These paddy grown varieties are dark black-brown in colour, tough, hard to
chew, require twice as long to cook (50 to 60 minutes), and have
comparatively little taste. Authentic wild rice ranges in colour from light brown,
to greenish-brown, to deep brown. It cooks in 25 to 30 minutes, is light and
fluffy, and its flavour is rich, nutty and delicious. It’s harvested over time as the
seeds mature at different times. Canoe harvesting ensures only the ripe rice is
harvested. Wild rice, which is actually a water grass seed, has been a vital
food staple of Native Americans for eons, especially the Ojibwa and
Chippewa, the Menominee, the Cree and the Sioux. They called wild rice
“manoomin”; meaning & “good berry,” and introduced it to European settlers who
in turn used it to survive. Early English explorers called it wild rice or Indian
rice, and the French called it folle avoine or crazy oats. Other names were
Tuscarora rice, Canadian rice, water oats, blackbird oats, and marsh rice.
Paired with the earthy umami-laden mushrooms, this wild rice is a prefect fall
dinner and tribute to Native American traditions.

2 (6-ounce) packages authentic wild rice
1 package dried porcini or morel mushrooms
1 cup hot water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
½ medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced – add oyster, hen of the woods or
any other mushrooms you enjoy
1  cup mushroom stock
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Parmesan regianno shavings
Fried sage for garnish (drop whole sage leaves in hot oil for 30 seconds or
until crisp)


Add dried mushrooms to hot water and let steep for 30 minutes to 1 hour –
drain and reserve broth.
Prepare wild rice according to package instructions in a 3-quart saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and butter and
sauté onion until tender, about 3 minutes.
Stir in garlic, fresh and soaked dried mushrooms and cook until tender and
mushrooms are browned, about 7 to 10 more minutes.
Pour in mushroom stock, salt and dried thyme and cook until the stock is
reduced by about half.
Remove from heat and stir mushroom mixture into the cooked rice and top
with shaved parmesan and fried sage.
Serve warm.

Pairs well with CBA winner Corsaire Brown Ale by Le Corsaire Microbrasserie.