Julia Child'sRICE PILAF
Julia says that this is the standard French method for braised rice, meaning rice sautéed in fat and onions, then cooked in seasoned liquid. She emphasizes the rice must first be sautéed slowly in butter for 2 to 3 minutes until it turns a milky color. Basic proportions are 2 cups of liquid for each cup of raw rice.
1/4 cup finely minced onions
4 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups clean, unwashed raw, long-grain white rice
2 2/3 cups chicken stock
1/3 cup dry white vermouth or white wine*
[Can eliminate wine and use all chicken stock.
If using anything other than homemade stock, do not add any salt, since stock bases and canned broths are quite salty already.]
Salt and pepper
Melt butter in inner container of rice cooker on cooktop.
Cook the onions and butter slowly for about 5 minutes until tender but not browned.
Blend the rice into the onions and butter and stir over moderate heat for several minutes, not letting the rice brown. The rice grains will at first become translucent, then will gradually turn a milky color.
As soon as the rice looks milky, put inner container into rice-cooker base. (Do not agonize over "milky," if you do this for three to four minutes, it will be fine.)
Add liquid, optional salt and freshly ground pepper to taste, then add bouquet garni.**
Cover the rice cooker and push the button. After the button pops up, rice can sit awhile (15 to 20 minutes) before serving.
*Different liquids can be used depending on what your rice is to be served with. You can eliminate the wine and use only stock.
**A small herb bouquet: Tie in cheesecloth
2 parsley sprigs
1/3 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon thyme.
(or, 1/2 to 1 teaspoon prefab Bouquet garni, if you have a good source)
House of Herbs used to produce this by the jar. some grocery stores carry a blend by Spice Islands or McCormick, whichmay be okay. A decent blend is available by mail from Market Spice in Seattle. Market Spice would also make a blend of your choice if you requested their using just the above three items. Please let me know if you have a good source in your area.
JULIA CHILD'SMODIFIED WILD-RICE PILAF
1 1/2 cups wild rice
3 quarts boiling water
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
Drop the rice in the boiling salted water and boil uncovered for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
3 tablespoons each: finely minced onions, carrots and celery
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 1/2 cups beef stock or canned beef bouillon
Salt (do not use salt if using canned beef stock or bouillon)
Freshly ground pepper to taste
While the rice is boiling, cook the minced vegetables slowly in the butter in the inner container of the rice cooker for 5 to 6 minutes until tender but not browned. Then add the drained rice and stir over moderate heat for 2 minutes to coat it with butter. Add the stock, bouquet garni, and salt and pepper to taste.
Cover the rice cooker and push the button. When the button pops up, check to see if rice is tender. If not, try adding a little more liquid, cover and push button again.
Wild rice is best if allowed to sit 15 to 20 minutes after button pops up before serving.
This is one kind of rice that may be cooked in advance and reheated just before serving. That eliminates some of the pressure of checking for tenderness at the last minute.
If you do not have an Oriental-style rice cooker, do contact me for directions for cooking this on stovetop. That is Julias original approach.
WILD RICE WITH MUSHROOMS AND ALMONDS
(from Time-Life, American Cooking: The Northwest)
Note--This recipe takes quite a bit longer than typical rice. Allow at least an hour from the moment you push the button on the rice cooker until you are ready to sit down and serve the rice. If you double the recipe, increase that time to at least 1 1/2 hours. Of course, if you are entertaining, this is great, since you can really entertain during that time or work on other dishes, and forget about the rice, especially if you prepare the almonds and mushrooms ahead of time and just set them aside until ready to add to the rice just before serving.
5 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
4 tablespoons finely chopped onions 1/2 pound firm, fresh mushrooms,
1 cup wild rice wiped with a dampened towel,
2 cups chicken stock, fresh trimmed, and cut lengthwise,
or canned including the stems, into 1/8-
1 teaspoon salt inch-thick slices
Freshly ground black pepper
In inner container of rice cooker, melt 2 T. of the butter over moderate heat. When the
foam begins to subside, add 2 tablespoons of the onions and, stirring frequently, cook for
about 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent but not brown.
Add the wild rice and stir until the grains glisten with butter. Then pour in the stock and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (unless stock is well seasoned), and stir. Cover the container with a double thickness of aluminum foil and set the cover in place. (I melted the button on our rice cooker once doing this. Be careful the foil is not bent in such a way that it focuses steam from the container down onto the button. Believe me, it is possible.) Push the button.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in a 10-inch skillet and brown the almonds for a minute or so, stirring constantly so that they color delicately and evenly. With a slotted spoon, transfer the almonds to paper towels to drain.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and melt over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the remaining 2 tablespoons onions and stir for about 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent but not brown.
Add the mushrooms and, stirring frequently, cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the moisture they give off has evaporated. Do not let the mushrooms brown. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grindings of pepper and set aside.
To serve, combine the wild rice and mushrooms in a heated bowl and toss them together gently but thoroughly. Scatter the almonds on top and serve at once.
This really is a great dish to make for company, since most people like wild rice but rarely cook it themselves. The basic recipe serves 4; by doubling, the recipe can serve 8 to 10.
These recipes have been kitchen tested.
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