Orange Beef

September is just around the corner, and that means National Rice Month. And people who are familiar with this know that it’s also time for the Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council’s “Get Wild with Wild Rice” Recipe Contest, which offers visitors to the opportunity to vote for their favorite wild rice recipe.

Wild rice long has been a favorite of cooks everywhere who utilize its unique flavor to add flair and depth to their meals. It serves as a great addition to soups, salads, sides, main dishes, stir-fry and even desserts, conveying a smoky, nutty flavor quite unlike anything else.

Each year, contestants submit their wild rice creations which go head-to-head in a taste test conducted by the council’s culinary specialists to determine which recipes are selected as finalists. This year, the 10 finalists who made the cut will be featured in an online contest (grand prize winner receives $500). Voting will begin Sept. 1.

The finalists are:

Springtime Wild Rice Soup – Mary Marlowe Leverette, Columbia, S.C.
Quick & Spicy Pork Wild Rice Soup – Sally Sibthorpe, Shelby Township, Mich.
Curry Corn & Chicken Soup – Roxanne Chan, Albany, Calif.
Wild Rice Beef Stew with Red Wine – Sugiyarti Jorgenson, Kodiak, Alaska
Zesty Wild Rice Salad – Angela Smith, Bluffton, S.C.
Hearty Heartland Succotash Salad – Roxanne Chan, Albany, Calif.
Conquistadors – Margaret Bracher, Robertsdale, Ala.
Chicken & Wild Rice Enchiladas – Angela Smith, Bluffton, S.C.
Wild Rice & Sausage Frittata – Anne Lauer, Hugo, Minn.
Elegant Italian Stuffed Flank Steak – Margaret Bracher, Robertsdale, Ala.

My favorite way to use wild rice is in a baked pheasant dish, which features the grain in a dressing with cream of mushroom soup, onion, celery, garlic, red wine and a bit of half-and-half. (For hundreds of great-tasting wild rice recipes and ideas on the different ways wild rice can be used to liven up your own favorites, go to

Here’s the recipe for last year’s grand prize winner, Orange Beef,  created by Deborah Puette, Lilburn, Ga. It wild rice with sirloin steak, green onions, ginger and broccoli with hints of citrus and garlic.

Orange Beef
1½ pounds sirloin steak, cut into bite-size pieces
Zest and juice of a medium orange, reserve juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
½ cup tamari
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 9-ounce package frozen Green Giant Simply Steam Broccoli Cuts, prepared as directed on package, drained
1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
3 cups cooked wild rice
In large skillet, saute sirloin and orange zest in oil. Stir in onions, garlic and ginger; cook 2 minutes. In small bowl, mix tamari and cornstarch; stir into skillet mixture slowly. Stir in orange juice and remaining ingredients; heat through.
Yield: Serves 6.