Lou & Lucy’s Leftovers: It’s a wild, wild rice

  • Uncooked wild rice. FOR THE GAZETTE/LUCY PICKETT

Published: 12/7/2019 2:00:30 AM

When I cook a whole turkey, like I did last week for Thanksgiving, I usually make soup (surprise, surprise) out of the carcass. (I don’t like that word but it is what it is.)

I like to put wild rice in my turkey soup. Noodles get mushy, and rice kind of disappears after a few reheats. I’m a big fan of wild rice. I love the nutty flavor and chewy texture, it holds up quite well and doesn’t turn the soup into a big brothless wad.

I usually have some on hand, but this year my wild rice jar was empty. So off to the store (Big Y) to get some. I was shocked at the price — a tiny little box comes in at around five bucks. Nope, not gonna do it. I’d rather drive around to three or four stores looking for a better bargain. Hmmm, probably cost more in gas, but I have my principles.

I admit I was spoiled, because my friend Evelyn has a friend, Billie, in Minnesota who actually went out and harvested her own wild rice. She would take her canoe out to where the tall wild rice grasses grow and whack at them till the kernels fell onto the floor of her boat. She used to sell it, and one year I was lucky enough to acquire a bunch for a very reasonable price. It was enough rice to give some away and still have plenty for myself.

I did find some at the Asian grocery in bulk one year, and I did stop there this year, but they didn’t have it in yet.

I ended up at Trader Joe’s. They had a one-pound bag for around six bucks. I could live with that price. They had a couple of different kinds, organic and cultivated wild rice. Funny, uncultivated would be wild-wild rice I guess.

It’s necessary to cook the rice first before adding it to the soup. I cooked a cup of the rice for my turkey soup. It was more than enough and it was a big pot of soup. I ended up freezing part of the rice. It takes a longer time to cook than regular rice, so keep that in mind if you make it.

If you decide to try some cultivated or wild-wild rice, look up some recipes. I used to love a recipe that had corn, onions and bacon mixed in.

So go wild, or wild-wild, your choice.

—LUCY

Wild rice is quite a treat. I was given a pound of some harvested in Minnesota a few years ago. It’s all gone.

Of course, wild rice is not rice, but a wild grass that grows in small lakes and streams.

I often dream of paddling a canoe among the wild rice thickets and gently knocking the grains into the canoe with a traditional “knocker” used by various American Indian tribes.

Then I wake up and realize the rice cooker is beeping at me.

Thus we go from nature to denature in the wink of an eyelid.

—LOU




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