Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Wild Rice Casserole ~The Kitchen Witch~ Side Dish Recipes

Last week I shared a recipe I adapted from Chef Michael Smith for roasted chicken with apples and rosemary. Today I'm going to share the side dish I always make to accompany it: Wild Rice Casserole. A dish that's been in my family for years and is a staple at many a celebration.

 Food is funny that way. Certain dishes interweave themselves into occasions so that they become part of the memory. In my life a potluck wouldn't be right without my friend Debbi's broccoli slaw, Christmas eve wouldn't be the same without tourtieres, and roast chicken, pork, or turkey lose some of their lustre without wild rice casserole.

I also love that it's a Canadian thing - wild rice - considered a delicacy in North America, is largely grown in the Borealis region of Canada and around the great lakes in both Canada and the US. The grains are long and thin and dark brown to black in colour. When soaked and cooked properly, they soften up and have the perfect texture for a creamy casserole like this because the wild rice doesn't get mushy. This also means its an ideal make ahead.

All that aside, though, I love wild rice casserole simply because it tastes so good. The sweetness of red pepper and sauteed onion is offset by the saltiness of bacon. A crunch of diced celery, the earthiness of golden sauteed mushrooms, and the rich smokiness of toasted almond play off each other as explosions of taste go off in the mouth.

But the best thing of all for me is the comforting addition of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup - the product that bound all of my grandma's casseroles together over the years. Its familiar simplicity creating a symphony of memory, taste, and delight. This is the kind of dish that looks best in a Corninware casserole alongside steaming bowls of mashed potatoes, and jugs of homemade gravy - tables groaning under the weight of long remembered favourites - and the party goes on.

It continues in the here and now as I share these memories and recipes with you. In some small way, my grandmother, those tables, the people, and the magic live on everytime somebody new tries a recipe and decides to make it a part of their family tradition, celebration, or memory.

So please enjoy this wonderful recipe and pop by the Kitchen Witch cottage for a glass of wine and a visit. I'll show you step by step, just how easy this is to make.

Happy cooking everyone!

Wild Rice Casserole
Visit the printable recipe here: Wild Rice Casserole

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 red or green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 10 sliced mushrooms
  • 1 can consomme
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 tin Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. Rinse the wild rice under cold water. Bring it to a boil in three cups of salted water for 7 minutes and remove from heat. Let it soak covered for one hour to soften the grain. 
  2. After an hour, drain the water and pour in one can of consomme. Bring to a boil and then return to low. Cover and let steam and seep for 30 minutes. 
  3. Saute the bacon over medium high heat about 3 minutes until it begins to cook. Add the onion, celery, red or green pepper and sliced mushrooms. Cook until the bacon is crispy and the vegetables are tender. 
  4. Drain in a colander lined with paper towel and then mix well with the cooked rice. Add the almonds, soup and pepper and bake in a pre-heated 350 oven for 30 minutes. This can also be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature and heat at 350 for 30 minutes as above.
Please enjoy, and if you get a chance, check out my brand new Kitchen Witch weekly Meal Planner featuring 7 days of tried and true easy kitchen Witch dinner recipes and a grocery list to get you through the busiest weeks!


Your favourite Kitchen Witch

Author :

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a former website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

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