Monday, April 1, 2013

Wild Rice Pilaf with Mushrooms, Marsala and Fresh Herbs

It was just the two of us for Easter this year. After church and a refreshing walk around a blue lake with our eager beagle, we enjoyed a simple herb roasted chicken with a side of maple-glazed brussel sprouts and this savory pilaf. Juicy lemon-roasted chicken, brussel sprouts with maple and toasted walnuts, wild rice with wine and mushrooms: the meal had a pleasant balance of flavors and textures.
For dessert, we had buttery, raspberry lintzer cookies from this wonderful bakery in Cambridge. Stress-free, simple eating on a relaxing holiday weekend is a plus in my book.

Easter is a time of rebirth and renewal. Flowers bloom, forests turn from a barren-gray to lush-green. There's new life everywhere. Forests make me think of mushrooms. So there you have it, the inspiration for serving wild rice pilaf at our Easter dinner. Plus, wild rice pilaf has been special to me ever since I worked for a brief time at a gourmet store in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The shop had a wonderful selection of cheeses, pates and prepared foods. Each day, the chef would prepare new dishes that hungry customers would pick up on their way home from work. I loved the taste and aroma of his wild rice pilaf. He'd bring out huge platters of it, accented with sweet red grapes and served with burnished-brown Cornish game hens. It sold out very quickly. If you want to replace the mushrooms in this recipe with red grapes or dried cranberries, that would be a fine idea too. If you're gluten-free, keep this pilaf in mind for Thanksgiving and Christmas too. It's a festive, flavorful side dish.    

Cambridge Market Roses

Wild Rice Pilaf Recipe  

Some Notes:

Marsala and mushrooms will always be a classic and delicious Italian combination. There's a good amount of both in this pilaf to ensure maximum flavor. The complex, perky, smoky flavors of the wine compliment the earthy mushrooms. Herbs add a fresh finish.

I use Lundberg Farm Organic Wild Rice Blend which is blend of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, Wehani®, Black Japonica™ and select wild rice pieces. 
This blend has contrasting tastes and textures that I love in a wild rice pilaf. It's gluten free too. I think it's important to use a blend because wild rice pilaf made with just wild rice can be a bit too one dimensional.

You can make this vegan by using Earth Balance in place of the butter.

Extra rice pilaf can be stored in the fridge for a day or two. During the workweek, heat and eat for whole grain, rice bowl lunches with some toasted almonds or walnuts for crunch and protein.

Serves 4

You'll Need:
  • 1 cup wild rice blend, cooked according to package directions. I use Lundberg Organic Wild Blend (see notes).
  • 6 shallots, diced
  • 1 16 ounce package of whole baby bella mushrooms, sliced. 
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • olive oil for cooking the shallots 
  • sea salt or kosher salt to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • a few pinches of dried thyme
  • To Serve: freshly chopped flat leaf parsley, finely diced chives or scallions and/or toasted nuts  
The Rundown:
Cook the rice according to the package directions with a bit of salt.

Meanwhile, add some olive oil to a large skillet and saute the shallots with salt, pepper and a pinch of dried thyme until soft. I use my trusty nonstick, eco-friendly Scanpan for this recipe. Once the shallots are soft, add the mushrooms, butter and a pinch more salt, pepper and thyme. Cook until the mushrooms are starting to soften and add the wine. Add a pinch more salt. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered on low heat, until the liquid has evaporated. Stir the cooked rice into the mushrooms. Freshly chopped parsley, chives, scallions and toasted nuts are serving options. Enjoy!

More Recipes from Jilly...

Foolproof Coconut Milk Chocolate Mousse. Decadent & Delicious!

Supremely Satisfying Moroccan Chickpea Stew ~ A healthy stew with tomatoes and North African spices


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  2. Love rice pilaf, especially if mushrooms are in there, too! Marsala wine does go so well with mushrooms!

    1. Thanks Julia! We eat a lot of rice in this house. I must try your easy pasta carbonara soon!!!