Roasted Vegetables with Wild Rice

November 27, 2010

Aunt Suzy says . . .

This recipe was given to my guy Randy by an Ojibway woman he used to work with at the Linden Hills Co-op.  She told him this method of combining roasted vegetables with wild rice is traditional, but that she had been creative with the types of vegetables and herbs.  Regardless, we love this dish!  We recommend that you use hand-harvested naturally growing wild rice vs. cultivated.  It’s a little like the difference between those hard pink tomatoes found in stores in the winter and those that are home-grown in the summertime.  If you don’t have easy access to true wild rice, you can order it from Scenic Waters Wild Rice – we buy from them at our farmer’s market.

This is a delicious vegetarian main dish or a wonderful side to roast chicken or salmon.  Since this seems like something that would have been served at harvest, we featured it in our Thanksgiving dinner along with roast turkey breast and my latest obsession, Persimmon Salad.  We tried a dry brining recipe from this November’s Bon Appetit for our turkey.  We liked this approach, but Randy felt that the wet brining we’ve used over the years yielded a better result.  You can see that Buddy the cat does not have a preference for one brining method over another!

The Rice

Cook 1 Cup Wild Rice according to package directions or you can choose one of these methods.  Cook the roasted vegetables while the rice is cooking – you’ll want them to finish roughly at the same time.

The Roasted Vegetables

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Scatter 4  chopped and seeded Roma tomatoes in a 9 x 12 pan.  You can also do this in a large cookie sheet or the bottom of your stove’s broiler pan. We recommend lining these latter two with foil.

Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sugar over the tomatoes.

Dice the following, in about ½ inch slices and cubes depending on the vegetable and place in a large bowl.  The 1 cup amount should be used as a starting point.  Our quantities typically vary from 1-2 cups depending on the original size of the vegetables we use.

1 cup carrots                                                 1 cup onion

1 cup celery                                                   1 cup fennel bulb

1 cup yukon gold potatoes and/or 1 cup sweet potato

1 cup zucchini

Toss with the vegetables:

4 minced garlic cloves                           1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Olive Oil                                       1 teaspoon pepper

Arrange vegetables over the top of the tomatoes and cover with foil.

Roast for 20 minutes at 450 degrees in the top 1/3 of the oven.  After 20 minutes, stir the vegetables and roast for 10-15 minutes more to desired doneness. If the mixture is a little soupy, roast uncovered.  If it’s a little dry, put the foil back on for the final 10-15 minutes.  You want the finished product to not be too wet nor too dry.

When done to your liking, remove the vegetables from the oven and stir in 1/2-1 cup fresh chopped cilantro.  You can substitute parsley if you don’t like cilantro.  Stir the rice into the vegetables and place in a serving dish or platter.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons dill. Enjoy!

Cooks Notes: If you use sweet potato, make sure it’s the one with the light tan skin/light yellow flesh.  The relatives of this sold as garnet or jewel yams with orange flesh are too wet.  Mushrooms are a nice addition to the roasted vegetables for an earthier flavor – try it both ways.  When selecting fennel, it should have bright green feathery tops and no brown spots on the bulbs.

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