The distinctive texture and flavor of wild rice goes a long way. Add a small amount to steamed vegetables, soups and stuffings for an extra special touch.
Chewy in texture and wonderfully nutty in flavor, wild rice isn't really a rice, but a long-grained marsh grass. Native to the northern Great Lakes area, it's harvested by local Indians and also commercially produced. Wild rice can be boiled or baked and it makes a great accompaniment for poultry, duck and game meats. It's also ideal for mixing into salads, casseroles, pilafs and stuffings.
Wild rice is native to the waters of Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin and Canada. Grains harvested in Minnesota vary in color and length from lake to lake. They range from shades of yellow, tan and brown to almost black, and are usually longer in length than regular long-grain rice.Canadian grains tend to be much longer, and they are often referred to as jumbo Canadian wild rice. Some grains may reach a length of one inch or longer.
True lake rice is hand-harvested, making it rather expensive. A less expensive option is cultivated rice, the type commonly found in grocery stores. Grown in controlled paddies (most are in Minnesota and California), these grains are more consistent in length and color. After drying, they may turn nearly black.