Northern wild rice (Zizania palustris) is a grass that grows in shallow lakes and slow-moving streams. While not harvested in the Yukon, one can sometimes find it when paddling in the Southern Lakes district.

High in protein (albeit, incomplete protein), fibre and low in fat, wild rice is a welcome accompaniment to wild meat and Northern game.

This recipe combines wild rice with our Yukon cranberries. While dried cranberries give this dish an interesting texture, fall-fresh and even frozen berries can be used. If using frozen cranberries, be careful to stir gently when adding so the casserole does not turn pink.


Wild Rice and Cranberry Pilaf

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon butter or vegetable oil

½ cup white or green onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon garlic, finely minced

½ cup carrot, diced

½ cup celery, diced

1 teaspoon thyme

Freshly ground pepper

1 cup wild rice (rinsed in cold water and strained)

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock, hot

½ cup water

1 bay leaf

½ cup dried cranberries or 1 cup of fresh or frozen cranberries

Salt and pepper

PREPARATION:

• In a saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter or oil and sauté onion, garlic, carrots and celery, stirring occasionally until slightly softened, about five minutes.

• Add thyme and a grating of fresh pepper.

• Add the wild rice and cook until rice is coated, about one minute.

• Transfer the rice mixture into an oven-proof casserole dish.

• Add the hot stock, one-half cup of water and a bay leaf.

• Cover the casserole dish tightly and cook in a 300F oven for 90 minutes or until almost all the liquid is absorbed.

• If rice appears dry, add an additional one-quarter to one-half cup of water.

• Stir rice to fluff and add in cranberries and return to oven for 15 to 30 minutes.

• If using frozen cranberries, stir gently when adding.

• Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt and pepper if desired.

• Remove bay leaf.

Yield = 6 cups