Dinner Table Rating
1 thumb per family member
Accessibility of ingredients, ease of preparation, and affordability
This recipe was my attempt to make lemons out of lemonade. Imagine my surprise when it actually worked! Last week I shared with you about my unsuccessful foray into the world of pemmican. I was feeling a tad depressed about all my time and effort (and money!) that had been wasted. I was determined to find a good use for that big jar o’ pemmican.
As I thought about possible uses for it, I reduced it to its essential ingredients–dried meat, fat, a little bit of dried fruit. It occurred to me that this could be delightful mixed into a rice salad. Lo and behold, Sally had the perfect recipe for me.
Wild Rice Casserole (page 474)
- 2 cups cooked wild rice (see page 474)
- 1/2 cup melted butter (or 1/2 cup pemmican)
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- grated rind of two organic oranges
- 1/2 cup crispy almond slivers (page 515)
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
I began by cooking a batch of wild rice. Following Sally’s instructions just above the recipe for the casserole, I put 2 cups wild rice in a pot to soak that morning. For the soaking liquid I used 4 cups water plus 4 tablespoons whey. I let it soak for about 7 hours, brought it to a boil, added the salt and 2 tablespoons of butter. I then reduced the heat and simmered, covered, for about 45 minutes at the lowest possible heat.
Back to the casserole recipe, while the rice was cooking, I prepped the other ingredients. I chose to omit the 1/2 cup butter, since I knew there was plenty of fat in the pemmican. I also used chives instead of green onions, since we have chives in our garden.
The almonds I had soaked and crisped the week before so they were all ready to go. (For more on Sally’s preparation of nuts and seeds, see this post)
Once the rice was finished cooking, I mixed the warm rice with all of the other ingredients and added about 1/2 cup of pemmican. You do want to use warm rice here so that it will melt the fat and mix everything together nicely. The whole mixture went into my favorite casserole dish and baked for about 30 minutes. I chose to cover it for the first 20 minutes, so that the meat and cranberries (in the pemmican) wouldn’t dry out. I baked it for the last 10 minutes uncovered so it would be nice and brown on top.
This dish really turned out pretty amazing. It tasted like Thanksgiving–in June. I served it as a main dish, since wild rice is fairly high in protein, but I would recommend it as a side dish. Though it was tasty, I didn’t find it filling enough.
This recipe also represents my first baby steps into putting dairy products back into my diet. Hooray for whey and butter!
Everyone in our family really liked this recipe, and I see it becoming a regular dish at our table–especially at potluck meals and holiday dinners. I’m giving it a Cook’s Rating of three stars. If you cook the recipe as written (with butter, instead of the pemmican) all ingredients are accessible and inexpensive. And just in case you, too, have a large jar of pemmican that you’ve been seething about, you’ll be happy to use up some of it on this delightful dish.