Tag Archives: Wild Rice Recipes

WILD RICE – A “GOOD” GRAIN, FOR THE GOURMET IN ALL OF US

Wild Rice For All Seasons Cookbook by Beth Anderson and Wild Rice, Star of The North: 150 Minnesota Recipes For A Gourmet Grain by The 1006 Summit Avenue Society

Of Babe Ruth and Wild Rice – Recipes For The Sportsman

 

Babe Ruth Retires in Front of Adoring Crowd
Babe Ruth – Athlete and Sportsman

 

The world of sports offers a long list of heroes and icons, but few names grow even larger over time. The Name Babe Ruth is one of those, and for good reason. He may have been the most dominating baseball player of his time, and all time, and he is considered to be one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture. He was a living legend and his fame and persona completely transcended the game. I wish I had met him, or at least been able to watch him swing.

What is not as well-known is that “the Babe” loved to hunt and fish. It appears that baseball was indeed the perfect sport for a man of his appetites. For when his hands were empty of bats and gloves, they most often held a fishing rod, or his favorite shotgun. Babe loved his duck blinds, and the pursuit of feathered game. He liked to eat too, and he liked to cook what he acquired in the field. His favorite recipe could be a main camp meal, or a side dish to accompany his hunter’s reward. He called it “Wild Rice for Game“.

Or so notes, “Famous Sportsmen’s Recipes For Fish, Game, Fowl and Fixin’s“, compiled by Jessie Marie Debooth. It’s a lovely and unpretentious little volume, a copy of which I have had in my personal collection for some years.

“The sportsmen of America have written this book, by contributing their favorite recipes for game, for fish, for birds. The recipes reflect the quality of mind and spirit that makes the true sportsman”.

Miss DeBooth goes on to dedicate the work “to the sportsmen and true conservationists of america, the conservationists of our natural resources of wild life, and the true protectors of the rightful heritage of future generations of americans, admiringly I dedicate this book of their favorite recipes, as cooked by them in their favorite outdoors”. I am certain that Mr. Ruth would agree.

His selection calls for 2 cups of wild rice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 cups of water. “Put this into a double boiler after washing thoroughly, making sure that the water covers the top of the rice. Do not at any time stir the rice – always shake it. Allow to boil for twenty minutes, then drain off the water and continue to cook over a low flame for fifteen minutes, then add: 3 finely chopped onions, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon sage, 1 teaspoon thyme. This recipe will make enough to serve six people”.

Ray Holland loved his waterfowl too, and our recipe book lists his hobby simply as “Duck Shooting”.  He grew up on waters teeming with waterfowl, and he shot his first duck with a muzzleloader shotgun in 1893 at the age of nine. For those in the know this is the equivalent of saying that Michael Jordan used to enjoy shooting a few flat-footed free throws in a pick up basketball game, and we all know how that turned out.

Mr. Holland was editor of Field and Stream magazine during its heyday in the 1920’s and 30’s, and an author of sporting classics like “Shotgunning in the Lowlands”. An ardent conservationist, his tireless efforts to protect this precious migratory resource is one of the reasons we still have ducks to hunt today.

His recipe for “Roast Wild Duck” is as follows: “Cut up together celery root, turnip, onion, parsley, carrot. Fry with a few slices of bacon in roasting pan until whole begins to brown. Upon this place the duck, thoroughly washed and salted, either larded with or covered by a strip of bacon. Baste, while roasting, with red wine. When done, pour cream over whole and allow it to become brown. Remove duck, mix in flour, allow to brown. Strain and serve sauce over sliced duck and dumplings”.

Zane Grey is mentioned here, as Zane Grey, author. His angling exploits are now regarded as somewhere beyond legendary, and really not possible today. He wasn’t a bad writer either.

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Wild Rice: The Gourmet Grain

From The Song of Hiawatha

 

Unmolested worked the women,

Made their sugar from the maple

Gathered wild rice in the meadows…

Then Nokomis the old woman

Spoke and said to Minnehaha:

‘Tis the moon when leaves are falling

All the wild rice has been gathered…

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

BASIC COOKING DIRECTIONS

Cooking up a perfect pot of rice seems easy enough, but it is in fact a fine and gentle culinary art. Wild Rice can be particularly challenging, and our best efforts are not always fully rewarded. With that being said, wild rice perfection is possible if you use some simple and basic techniques.

The goal, of course, is a light, palatable dish of distinct grains that is neither mushy nor chewy. A small attention to plan and detail will provide a completely satisfying “gourmet grain”.

Bon Appetit!

RINSE

Drop one cup of wild rice into a large pan, and scrub under cold running water for two or three minutes. Transfer the washed rice to a sieve and rinse well with tap water. Shake vigorously to remove excess liquid and let drain for about 10 minutes.

HEAT AND RINSE

Bring to boil two cups of salted water in a saucepan and stir in the drained rice. Simmer for five minutes, remove from heat, and pour into sieve. Wash in cold water for two or three minutes, shake, and let dry for ten minutes.

HEAT

Bring to boil 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and add rice. Bring again to boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.

REST

Remove from heat and rest for a few minutes to let the moisture redistribute evenly throughout the dish.

A close-up of a bowl of cooked wild rice
A Gourmet Grass

 

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Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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