Wild Rice Pilaf with Pecans and Dried Cranberries


The flavor of wild rice can be a little overwhelming, so we had to find a way to tame it for our wild rice pilaf recipe. We chose chicken broth as a simmering liquid, because its mild yet rich flavor tempered the rice’s muddy taste to a pleasant earthiness. To further temper the rice’s flavor in our pilaf recipe, we added white rice to the mixture



1 ¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 bay leaves

8 sprigs fresh thyme, divided into 2 bundles, each tied together with kitchen twine

1 cup wild rice, rinsed well and picked over

1 ½ cups long grain white rice

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/4 cups)

1 large carrot, chopped fine (about 1 cup)

table salt

¾ cup dried cranberries, sweetened or unsweetened

¾ cup pecans, toasted in small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 6 minutes, then chopped coarse

1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

Ground black pepper



Wild rice goes quickly from tough to pasty, so begin testing the rice at the 35-minute mark and drain the rice as soon as it is tender.



1.       Bring chicken broth, 1/4 cup water, bay leaves, and 1 bundle thyme to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add wild rice, cover, and reduce heat to low; simmer until rice is plump and tender and has absorbed most liquid, 35 to 45 minutes. Drain rice in mesh strainer to remove excess liquid. Return rice to now-empty saucepan; cover to keep warm and set aside.

2.       While wild rice is cooking, place white rice in medium bowl and cover with 2 inches water; gently swish grains to release excess starch. Carefully pour off water, leaving rice in bowl. Repeat about 5 times, until water runs almost clear. Drain rice in mesh strainer.

3.       Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat until foam subsides, about 2 minutes. Add onion, carrot, and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add rinsed white rice and stir to coat grains with butter; cook, stirring frequently, until grains begin to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 2 1/4 cups water to boil in small saucepan or in microwave. Add boiling water and second thyme bundle to rice; return to boil, then reduce heat to low, sprinkle cranberries evenly over rice, and cover. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 16 to 18 minutes. Off heat, fluff rice with fork.

4.       Combine wild rice, white rice mixture, pecans, and parsley in large bowl; toss with rubber spatula. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.


Cook's Illustrated November/December 2002






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