WILD RICE & Fresh CRIMINI MUSHROOMS W/ Braised SAUSAGE

You can really appreciate the cost of wild rice after reading the story below!

After looking at the photos of the finished dish, I think that the next time I make it I’ll chop some fresh flat-leaf parsley to toss on top, then add the halved cherry tomatoes.

¾ cup cooked wild rice
¾ cup cooked white rice (I like Basmati rice)
1 lb. bulk hot sausage
3 T. butter or margarine
1 medium mild onion, chopped fine
4 green onions, sliced with the green tops
2 T. plain flour
2 cups milk
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
8 oz. crimini (baby Portobello) mushrooms
1 (8-oz.) can sliced water chestnuts, drained
Cherry tomatoes, halved for garnish (optional)
Flat-leaf parsley, chopped for garnish (optional)

 

 

 

 

 

Cook the wild rice according to the package directions.  After cooking is complete, remove from heat & uncover; set aside.  Cook white rice according to the package directions.  After cooking is complete, remove from heat & uncover; set aside.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray-oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.  In a large skillet, braise the bulk sausage breaking it up & crumbling while cooking with a whisk or a fork. Remove sausage to a side plate; discard the drippings & wipe-out the skillet.  Then, slowly melt the butter or margarine in the skillet & cook both kinds of onions on low heat until just transparent.  Remove onions to the side plate with the sausage.  Slowly stir in the flour to keep mixture smooth; then very gradually stir in the milk keeping the mixture smooth.  Stir until thickened.  Add salt & pepper; stir. Remove the stems from the mushrooms & very quickly wash the mushrooms; then drain on paper towels & dry them.  Do not allow mushrooms to soak in water. Slice the mushrooms.  In a bowl, add the mushrooms, sausage, both kinds of rice, onions, & water chestnuts; gently mix to blend.  Put rice mixture into the baking dish & bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

More from “The Good Old Days
From the WHITEHOUSE COOKBOOK 1910, page 202

TO BOIL RICE   (White Rice)

“ Pick over the rice carefully, wash it in warm water, rubbing it between the hands, rinsing it in several waters, then let it remain in cold water until ready to be cooked.  Have a saucepan of water slightly salted; when it is boiling hard, pour off the cold water from the rice, and sprinkle it in the boiling water by degrees, so as to keep the particles separated.  Boil it steadily for 20 minutes, then take off from the fire and drain off all the water.  Place the saucepan with the lid partially off, on the back part of the stove, where it is only moderately warm, to allow the rice to dry.  The moisture will pass off and each grain of rice will be separated, so that if shaken the grains will fall apart.  This is the true way of serving rice as a vegetable and is the mode of cooking it in the Southern States where it is raised.”

Now we know how to cook just picked from the fields.  When instructed to place the saucepan on the back of the stove, keep in mind that the cookbook author is speaking of a wood-burning cooking stove.  So the back of the stove is still hot but, as she says only  “moderately warm”.  Guess you had to pump the water from the well also???

WILD RICE HARVEST IN WISCONSIN

This information was taken directly from an Internet posting by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

“Only Wisconsin residents may harvest wild rice in the state. Harvesters are limited to gathering wild rice in boats no longer than seventeen feet and no wider than 38 inches that must be propelled by muscular power using paddles or push poles. The grain is still harvested by hand using wooden sticks (flails) that bend the tall stalks over the canoe. As the seed heads are tapped, some Wild Rice Harvest rice falls in the canoe and some in the water to seed the bed for future years. The flails must be rounded wooden rods or sticks no more than 38 inches long and hand-operated. Harvesting should be done gently, so that the stalks and beds can be harvested again as more rice matures.
Because wild rice ripens at a gradual, uneven rate, rice can be harvested repeatedly during the season, which may extend for up to two to three weeks on a particular lake. Different water bodies will also ripen at slightly different times, so the harvest season may last four to five weeks overall, if fair weather holds. An acre of good rice beds can yield over 500 pounds of seed, but hand harvesting will only capture about 10 to 15 percent of this amount.”

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