Turkey Wild Rice Soup

The possibilities are endless when it comes to leftover turkey. Of course, sandwiches immediately come to mind for a lot of people. Others like to use the turkey with other leftovers such as mashed potatoes and vegetables in a shepherd’s pie.

My preference is soup. The carcass of a leftover roast turkey makes the best broth and certainly is one of the best bases a person can find for soup.

I just put the finishing touches on a kettle of soup, a turkey wild rice version, complete with home-grown carrots, onion, celery and frozen peas. I seasoned the pot with ground savory, which I’ve found to be a great addition to any vegetable-type soup.

Here’s my recipe, in case you still might have some leftover turkey.

Turkey Wild Rice Soup
2 cups cooked turkey, diced or chopped
½ cup wild rice, uncooked
8 cups broth
3 carrots, sliced thinly
2 stalks celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 cup frozen peas
2 teaspoons ground savory
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat broth and then add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
Yield: Serves 10 to 12.

Wild Rice and Sausage Frittata

Most cooks who live or grew up in the northwoods and lake country of Minnesota are familiar with wild rice. Wild rice is the only cereal grain native to the Minnesota. It also is the official state grain.

I’ve been in the know about wild rice for quite a few years. It’s a staple in our household. We use it in soups, salads and main dishes. One of my favorite uses is in a wild rice dressing that also contains mushrooms, onion, garlic, celery, cream of mushroom soup, half and half and a little red wine.

Most of my wild rice comes from the Mahnomen, Minn., area. I usually am the recipient of some from my mom, who loves to go to Shooting Star Casino for entertainment. While there, she usually picks up some wild rice for me.

I’m always on the lookout for new wild rice recipes. One source is the Minnesota Cultimvated Wild Rice Council website (www.mnwildrice.org).

Here’s a recipe I recently came across that looks pretty good. It’s from Anne Lauer of Hugo, Minn. The recipe was the grand prize winner of the 2012 “Get Wild with Wild Rice” contest sponsored by the council.

The frittata recipe features wild rice, pork sausage, onion and mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. It can be served as a main dish and served for breakfast.

Wild  Rice and Sausage Frittata
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced into ¼-inch thick rings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 7-ounce box frozen Green Giant Antioxidant Blend Olive Oil Seasoning (broccoli florets, juilienne carrots, red and yellow pepper strips  in garlic-infused olive oil), as directed on package
2 cups cook wild rice
8 ounces pork sausage, cooked, diced
8 large eggs
1/3 cup half and half
¼ teaspoon each: salt and pepper
½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup Sargento Fine Cut Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/3 cups Sargento Artisan Blends Shredded Parmesan Cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In ovenproof, nonstick 12-inch skillet, cook onion in oil until softened; arrange vegetables over onion. Spread wild rice and sausage evenly over vegetables; continue to cook.
In small bowl, beat eggs, half and half and seasonings; pour over skillet mixture. Do not stir; reduce heat. Cook until eggs begin to set around edges; sprinkle cheese on top. In same skillet, bake  until set all the way through and top is golden (about 1 to 5 minutes).
Remove from oven. Let rest 5 minutes. Run knife gently around edges; carefully invert onto a large plate and serve.
Yield: Serves 6.

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 www.mnwildrice.org 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 www.mnwildrice.org/search.php.)

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.

Chicken with Rice and Peas

It’s always fun to try a new recipe, no matter if it’s quick and easy or labor-intensive. Perhaps the most interesting part of the experience is wondering if the dish will taste good. My biggest fear is that my family or guests won’t like it.

There are some recipes, though, that take away all the guesswork. Those are the ones that can’t possibly turn out badly. They contain ingredients that just about everyone likes. When I see a recipe like this, it’s immediately put on the proverbial front burner. My favorites are those one-skillet meals.

The following recipe fits all those prerequisites. It’s quick, tasty and is prepared in one pan.

I tweaked the recipe a bit because of the ingredients we had on hand. Instead of chicken, I used pheasant and Hungarian partridge breasts, as well as 2 cups of leftover brown/wild rice (for the long-grain variety). With no white wine or vermouth and chicken broth, I substituted red wine and wild game broth. And yellow onions had to suffice.

The results were spectacular. I can’t imagine the dish being any tastier with the called-for ingredients.

Chicken with Rice and Peas
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, minced
3 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
Pinch red pepper flakes
1½ cups long-grain rice
½ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
4½ cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
5 scallions, sliced thin
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in flour to coat and shake off any excess. Heat the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown the chicken well on one side, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
Turn off the heat, add the butter to the skillet, and swirl to melt. Add the onion and ½ teaspoon salt and return to medium-high heat until softened, 2 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the rice thoroughly and let toast for about 30 seconds.
Stir in the wine (or vermouth) and let the rice absorb it completely, about 1 minute. Stir in the broth, scraping up any browned bits. Nestle the chicken into the rice, browned side facing up, including any accumulated juices. Cover and cook over medium heat until the thickest part of the chicken registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a clean plate. Gently brush off and discard any rice clinging to the chicken, then tent the chicken with foil and set aside. Return the skillet of rice to medium-low heat, cover, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, 8 to 12 minutes longer.
Turn off the heat, sprinkle the peas over the rice, cover, and let warm through, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and lemon juice to the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with the chicken and lemon wedges.

Baked Pheasant and Wild Rice

Prospects for pheasant hunting in North Dakota this fall aren’t as promising as they’ve been the past couple of years. But that’s not going to stop a lot of hunters from taking the field, including me.

That’s because in my opinion, there’s nothing that can compare with the baked pheasant and wild rice dish that my family has become accustomed to since I’ve been chasing the elusive game bird the past 20 years or so.

Just the other night, we hosted a small family gathering, and we had the dish that I’ve come to perfect over the years. Not to brag, but as usual, it drew raves from everyone. And as far as I’m concerned, the leftovers are just as good the next day.

So, in anticipation of a successful ringneck season (with a little hard work), I’m going to share the recipe, so other hunters can enjoy this meal as much as we do.

Baked Pheasant and Wild Rice
6 to 8 deboned pheasant breasts
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 to 1½ cups wild rice
1 10½-ounce can cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup
½ to 1 cup red wine
½ cup cooking sherry
½ pint half and half
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon Louisiana Cajun seasoning
½ cup olive oil
1 cup water
Mix the flour, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper and Louisiana Cajun spice in a bowl. Roll pheasant breasts in flour mixture and brown in olive oil.
Mix the onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms and wild rice with red wine, soup and water in a large roasting pan.
When you are finished browning the breasts, place them atop the wild rice mixture. Deglaze the frying pan with the cooking sherry and pour over the pheasants. Top with the cream.
Bake in 350-degree oven for 2 to 3 hours or until done. You may have to add more water while it is cooking.

Cream of Wild Rice Soup

I usually don’t need an excuse to make soup. I probably enjoy throwing a pot of soup together just as much as preparing any other food.

But today, I had a reason to make some. A family illness that’s been consuming a lot of time for some friends of mine means that they don’t have the luxury of preparing meals on a regular schedule. I remember what that was like when our family went through a similar experience a half-dozen or so years ago.

So, I decided to lend a hand by making some soup for my neighbors.

I opted for a variation of a recipe for cream of wild rice soup that can be found in Taste of Home’s “Big Book of Soup.” The only changes I made to the recipe was substituting pheasant for chicken and leaving out the chopped chives that are to be used as a garnish.

With the weather expected to turn colder over the weekend, this soup would provide a nice way to take off the chill.

Cream of Wild Rice Soup
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
1 stalk celery, chopped
¼ cup butter
½ cup all-purpose flour
8 cups chicken broth
3 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup cubed cooked chicken
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup evaporated milk
Chopped fresh chives, garnish
In a large saucepan, saute the onion, carrot and celery in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually add broth. Stir in the rice, chicken, salt and pepper
Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in milk; cook 3 to 5 minutes longer. Garnish with chives.
Yield: Serves 10 (2½ quarts).

Wild About Rice

People who’ve never eaten wild rice don’t know what they’re missing.

Wild rice is the only cereal grain native to North America. It’s been harvested by Native Americans for more than a thousand years, and according to historians, the seed from this plant has been harvested from natural stands and used for food for more than 10,000 years.

Wild rice is special for several reasons. Besides being so tasty, it’s easy to prepare (cook 1 cup of rice in 3 to 4 cups of boiling water for 30 to 45 minutes depending on your tastes), inexpensive ($5 per pound or 23 cents a serving), can be kept for a long time (up to 10 years in an air-tight container) and can be frozen for later use (will keep for up to six months in freezer in an air-tight container).

And to top it off, wild rice is really nutritious. It’s a high-fiber complex carbohydate, high in quality protein and low in fat, with only 130 calories per ½-cup serving.

I’m lucky enough to have a nice supply of wild rice all the time. My mother goes to the White Earth Indian Reservation several times a year (she likes to go to the casino to play the slots) and always brings me back a couple of package of wild rice.

Just this past weekend, I made one of my signature dinners — baked pheasant with wild rice dressing. It’s one of the dishes I like to make when we have company.

The compliment I hear most about the dressing is that the wild rice is so tender. My secret is to cook it a low temperature (325 degrees) for about two hours then lower the heat to 275 degrees for about the last hour.

Here’s my recipe, along with another from the Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council, which I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Wild Rice Dressing
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 cup wild rice
1 10½-ounce can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom with Roasted Garlic Soup
½ to 1 cup red wine
½ pint half and half
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 cup water
Mix the onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms and wild rice with red wine, soup and water in a large, greased oven-proof baking dish. Add half and half.
Bake dressing at 325 degrees for 2 to 3 hours or until done. If the mixture gets a little dry, occasionally add some water.
Serving suggestion: Cook with cut-up pieces of chicken, pheasant or other fowl. If you brown the meat, deglaze the pan with wine and pour over wild rice mixture.

Brown and Wild Rice Walnut Dressing
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped celery
1 clove garlic, minced
1½ tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup cooked wild rice
2 cups cooked brown rice
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon rubbed sage
¼ teaspoon seasoned salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup chicken broth
In small skillet, cook onion, celery and garlic in butter until tender. Combine with remaining ingredients. Place in buttered baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking 5 minutes.

Walleye and Wild Rice

This morning, a friend at the gym, Roger Peterson, asked about how to cook trout. It seems someone gave him a rainbow — with head attached — and he was at a loss at what to do with it after his wife made queries about how to fix it.

I told him it was OK to cook the fish the way it was (with head on) and offered a couple of recipe suggestions.

He also told me about all of the walleye he had, and I suggested a walleye wild rice soup. Earlier this week, our outdoor editor, Brad Dokken, forwarded a recipe he received from www.winkelman.com for the soup. It looked delicious, and I thought my friend might like to try it. According to the folks at Winkelman, the soup is easy to freeze, too.

For those of you who would like to make the soup, here is the recipe, along with another for Wild Rice Crusted Walleye.

Walleye Wild Rice Soup
1 6-ounce box long grain and wild rice soup mix
1/3 cup flour
4 cups milk
1½ tablespoonsp butter
1 small onion (chopped)
16 ounces clam juice
1 cup heavy cream
1½ cups walleye filet cut into pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
Prepare rice soup according to directions on box. Meanwhile, stir together flour, salt pepper and a ½ cup milk until smooth, set aside. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Increase heat to medium and stir in clam juice, cream and remaining milk; heat to a boil. Add flour mixture stirring constantly. Let boil 1 minute. Add fish pieces and rice soup mixture cook until fish flakes.

Wild Rice Crusted Walleye
¼ cup oil (canola is preferred)
1 cup wild rice, hand-harvested and hand-parched
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 to 6 walleye fillets
3 tablespoons butter
Heat oil in a medium saute pan on medium heat (350 degrees). When the oil is hot, throw the wild rice in the oil and watch as it pops and roasts. Keep moving the rice in the pan to prevent burning. (Cultivated wild rice won’t pop; if using it, be especially careful that it doesn’t burn). Once all the rice has popped, within 2 to 3 minutes, lay the rice on paper towels to absorb some of the oil.
After the rice has cooled, put it in a coffee grinder and grind it to a fine paste or powder. Mix regular flour with salt and pepper. Add wild rice paste to flour mixture and blend.
Lightly coat each walleye fillet in the breading. Saute the walleye with clarified butter (slowly melted and the top foam removed) until golden brown.