Friday, January 30, 2015

Wild Blend Rice Cranberry Pilaf




Angie, I am here! I know I am late for the Fiesta Friday anniversary party , but I am here! I have brought this amazing wild rice pilaf!

I love trying new stuff. One such thing is the Wild Blend Rice from Lundberg that I recently got.It is essentially a  blend of wild rice, long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, whole grain Wehani rice, and whole grain black Japonica rice. I have always been fascinated by wild rice. I have eaten wild rice salad many a time and enjoyed it. Brown rice I know is healthy, but I cannot switch it for my regular parboiled or Matta rice. This rice blend was perfect for those times when I wanted something different and a little more exotic.




Being that it is cold outside, I like to eat warm/hot food. I therefore didn't want to make a salad. I also had butternut squash, some green squash, carrots and fresh cranberries on hand and therefore decided to make a pilaf utilizing everything I had on hand. I must say that it came out really good and was gone in no time! I like my rice cooked until tender, I therefore soaked it for a couple of hours so as to reduce the cooking time. Brown rice takes forever to cook! This again is a one-pot recipe, easy to make.








Servings: 4-6


Ingredients:


Wild blend rice: 2 cups
Butternut squash: 2 cups, diced medium.
Green squash( zucchini): 1 cup, diced.
Baby carrots: 1 cup
Clarified butter : 1 tbsp
Olive oil: 1 tbsp
Onion: 1 medium, diced small
Garlic: 3-4 small cloves, minced
Boiling hot water: 5 cups ( you can use vegetable or chicken broth if you wish)
Fresh Cranberries: 1/2 cup, chopped
Cashew halves: 1 tbsp( optional)
Slivered almonds: 1 tbsp( optional)
Pomegranate seeds: 2 tbsp( optional)
Parsley( fresh) : 1 tbsp, chopped
Salt : to taste
Black pepper: 1 tsp,freshly ground ( can adjust as per individual taste)

Method:


Soak the rice blend in water for 1-2 hours. Drain and keep aside. ( This step is optional. I do this to reduce the cooking time and to make the rice more tender).

In a sauté pan or pressure cooker pan, heat butter and olive oil.Add the minced garlic, sauté for few seconds.

Now add the chopped onions and sauté on medium until the onion turns transparent.

Now add in the cashew halves, cranberries; sauté for a minute.

Add in the wild blend rice and the boiling hot water. Add salt, pepper powder,baby carrots, parsley and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

While that is cooking, you can cut the butternut squash and the green squash if you have not done so already.

After 30 mins, add in the butternut squash and the green squash to the pan, stir, cover and cook for another 20-30 minutes or until the rice reaches the desired level of tenderness.




Note: if using the pressure cooker/pan to cook, do not use the whistle/weight.Garnish with pomegranate seeds, slivered almonds and cranberries.




Serve hot. 





Enjoy!


Cooking made easy:


Any kind of vegetable can be used in this pilaf. You can use peas and carrots or mushrooms; anything really.

If you don't have fresh cranberries, you can used dried ones.

If you are allergic to nuts, you can skip it. If not, you can even use walnuts or pecans in this recipe.

Tip for healthy living:


Although brown rice is more tedious to cook, it is much healthier for the body. Not only is it less processed, it has a higher dietary fiber content when compared to other kinds of rice. It also has a lower glycemic index and is therefore good for diabetics. It has both the outer bran and germ layers and therefore more vitamins and other nutrients.

References:
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/eating-brown-rice-day-good-you-10049.html
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=128
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/cereal/brown-rice.html


Food for thought:



The only way to have a friend is to be one. Ralph Waldo Emerson