November 23, 2008

Wild Rice Medley

2 1/2 cups broth (chicken, turkey, mushroom or vegetable would be good)
1 cup wild rice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tablespoons dried porcini
1/2 teaspoon dried chervil
black pepper

Place all ingredients in the slow cooker, stir. Cover and put on low for 4 hours then check to see if the kernels are open and tender. If not, recover and continue to cook until they are, checking about every 15 minutes to avoid overcooking. Stir and serve piping hot.

Note: If you don't have dried chervil, I think substituting parsley would be fine. Also, my rice was perfect at exactly 4 hours but I know there are some variations between slow cookers so you might need a longer cooking time.

Yield: about 6-8 servings (can be easily doubled)

My thoughts:
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and while it is always nice to share a meal with family and friends, Thanksgiving is a particularly stressful holiday when it comes to food because it really is the the focus of the entire day. Novice cooks or even experienced cooks that aren't used to cooking for a crowd have expressed to me how difficult it is to roast the turkey, make dessert and make a bunch of side dishes all at once and time everything perfectly.

With that in mind, I came up with this easy and tasty side dish that requires virtually none of your attention. Wild rice takes forever to make on the stove top so it seemed to me that it would be a perfect to adapt to the slow cooker and it worked wonderfully. The resulting side dish is classic enough to satisfy the traditionalist but is much more flavorful than the usual pilaf and as an added bonus gets a lot of its flavor from vegetables you are probably using in other dishes. The best part of course is that once you put all the ingredients in the slow cooker, you don't have to do a thing until it is ready to serve and you are not taking up a burner on the stove.