A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to teach a “global gluten-free soups” class at Bob’s Red Mill. I’m particularly fond of teaching at Bob’s Red Mill because it gives me a chance to experiment with all kinds of whole grains, lentils, and beans. For this particular class, I prepared 5 soups, one each using millet, quinoa, buckwheat, and lentils, plus this chunky brew based on wild rice.
Wild rice is one of my favorite pantry staples for gluten-free cooking. The rice (actually a marsh grass) has a nutty taste and toothsome texture, making it amenable to many other foods, such as mushrooms, asparagus, butternut squash, dried fruits, pecans, hazelnuts, apples, pears, smoked trout, poultry (especially turkey and duck) and ham. It’s hearty enough for main-dish salads, soups, and unique stir-fries, or use it simply as a pilaf or a bed for stews and braises.
Many brands labeled “wild rice” are actually blends of wild rice and other varieties (long grain, etc.), so be sure to read the packaging carefully to make sure you know what you’re getting. Wild rice take longer to cook than most white varieties–up to 50 minutes–but you can always make it ahead and refrigerate it until you need it. I’ve actually seen packages of cooked wild rice at Trader Joe’s–genius!
To cook wild rice, rinse it thoroughly and then combine it in a pan with about 2 1/2 cups of water per cup of rice. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until just tender (some of the grains will burst open), about 40 to 50 minutes. Drain off any extra water. Here the wild rice is added to a simmering pot of vegetables, smoked sausage, and the intriguingly flavored smoked paprika. It’s a chunky, hearty soup, perfect for those lingering days of chill and rain. Enjoy! ~LbR