Last Updated on September 17, 2023 by Ellen Christian
Try this delicious wild rice with cranberries recipe. Wild cranberry wild rice is a favorite fall or holiday side dish recipe that is easy to make.
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Wild Rice with Cranberries Recipe
If you’ve ever had a wild rice pilaf, you’ll know that there are many different ways to make it. I enjoy using a wild rice mix and dried cranberries. But, some people enjoy adding toasted pecans or even pine nuts.
So, you’re on the lookout for a tasty, easy-to-make side dish, right? Well, you’ve landed in just the right place. This wild rice with cranberries recipe is not only super yummy but it’s also a breeze to prepare.
It’s the perfect go-to for those casual weeknight dinners and even for the holiday season when you want to impress your guests.
What’s great about this dish is its versatility. Don’t like pecans? No worries, just skip them! Prefer pine nuts? Go right ahead. The magic of this recipe lies in the wild rice mix and dried cranberries.
The rest is just about adding what you love and making it your own. Let’s get started and whip up a delicious batch of wild cranberry wild rice.
What is wild rice?
Wild rice, despite its name, is not actually rice at all. It’s a type of grass native to North America, specifically to the Great Lakes region. The ‘rice’ we refer to are the seeds of this grass.
It’s long, dark in color, and has a rich, nutty flavor that sets it apart from traditional rice. Wild rice has been a staple food for Native American tribes for centuries and has gained popularity worldwide for its unique taste and nutritional benefits.
Unlike white or brown rice, wild rice takes a bit longer to cook. However, it’s worth the wait. It’s packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants, which contribute to a healthy diet.
Additionally, its distinctive texture and flavor make it an exciting addition to a variety of dishes. From salads to stuffing, wild rice can elevate the humblest of recipes to a gourmet delicacy.
What is rice pilaf?
Rice pilaf, also known as pilau, is a dish that originated from the Middle East. It’s a way of cooking rice that involves using stock and adding ingredients such as spices, vegetables, or meats.
The rice is usually browned in oil before it is cooked in the stock, which gives it a unique flavor. It’s different from plain cooked rice because it has more taste and texture. Rice pilaf is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed on its own or as a side dish with different mains.
Making rice pilaf involves specific steps that give it its unique character. To start, the rice is often sautéed in butter or oil along with onions or other aromatics. This process helps to coat the rice grains in fat, which prevents them from sticking together during cooking and gives the dish a rich flavor.
Next, a liquid such as chicken or vegetable stock is added and the rice is cooked until it’s tender. During this time, a variety of other ingredients can be added to the pilaf such as vegetables, meats, or dried fruits to enhance its flavor and nutritional value.
The result is a flavorful and satisfying dish that can be served as a main course or side dish.
How do you cook wild rice?
Cooking wild rice is a fairly straightforward process, but it does require a bit more time compared to regular rice. First, rinse the wild rice under cold water to clean it.
Next, add one part wild rice to three parts water or broth in a pot. This ratio is important because wild rice needs more liquid to properly cook and expand.
Once you’ve got your rice and liquid in the pot, bring it to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Let the rice cook for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until it is tender and has absorbed most of the liquid.
Once it’s cooked, drain any excess liquid and fluff the rice with a fork. Remember that wild rice has a chewier texture than regular rice, so don’t worry if it feels a bit different. It’s ready to serve now or use in other recipes!
This wild rice pilaf recipe uses chicken broth. But, you could use a vegetable broth or beef stock if you prefer. I think that chicken or turkey broth goes well with cranberry wild rice. I use it often in rice pilaf.
Optional add ins for cranberry wild rice
This recipe uses pecans, pearl onions, apricots, and dried cranberries. But, you could change that up based on what you have.
There’s a world of ingredients that can add a unique twist to your wild rice pilaf. For a touch of sweetness, consider adding chopped dried figs or dates. Try other dried fruit like raisins if you like. They bring a delightful surprise with every bite and pair well with the nutty flavor of the wild rice.
If you’re a fan of herbs, fresh parsley or sage can lend a refreshing note to the dish. Or, add garlic. If you don’t have pearl onions, try chopped onion instead.
For those who love a bit of crunch, slivered almonds or walnuts could be a fantastic addition. Finally, if you’re aiming for a savory version of the dish, diced bell peppers, mushrooms, or even a sprinkle of feta cheese could do just the trick.
What can I use instead of wild rice?
if you don’t have a wild rice blend, you could use brown rice, white rice, long grain rice, or even cauliflower rice. You would need to change the cooking time based on the type of rice you’re using.
Can you make wild rice pilaf ahead of time?
Absolutely! Wild rice pilaf is a great dish to prepare in advance. Just cook the wild rice as directed, allow it to cool, and then store it in the refrigerator.
When you’re ready to serve, reheat the rice on the stovetop with a bit of added broth or water to keep it moist. Add in the rest of your ingredients, heat everything through, and voila!
Your dish is ready to impress.
What main dish goes well with cranberry wild rice?
Cranberry wild rice pairs well with a variety of main dishes. Its unique, nutty flavor and the sweet tartness of the cranberries complement both white and red meats.
It is especially delicious when served with roasted turkey or chicken, making it a perfect side for holiday feasts. Alternatively, it offers a delightful contrast when paired with rich, savory dishes like braised beef or pork.
For vegetarians, this wild rice recipe can be a nutritious accompaniment to hearty vegetable casseroles or stuffed bell peppers.
What do I need to make wild rice pilaf?
Chicken or vegetable broth
Wild rice (I like this kind)
Long-grain white rice (or brown rice – adjust time)
How to make cranberry wild rice pilaf
Place pearl onions into a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Allow to soak for 1 minute to help quickly remove outer skin.
In a large pan, pour olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter and over low/medium heat saute the onions until they are nice and golden. Set aside.
Pour the broth, wild rice and whole stems of thyme into the same pan used for the onions and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
Add the white rice. Reduce heat slightly and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
Once water has been absorbed, remove thyme stems and add in the apricots and cranberries. Combine and cook for approximately 3 minutes.
Put in the onions and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, add pecans and stir.
If you enjoy crunchy pecans, be sure to add them right before serving.
More rice recipes
If you enjoy this cranberry wild rice pilaf, you might want to try a few of these:
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 10 oz pearl onions
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 ½ c vegetable broth
- 3 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 ¼ c wild rice
- 1 ¼ c long-grain white rice
- ¾ c dried apricots
- ¾ c dried cranberries
- ¾ c toasted pecans
- Place pearl onions into a bowl and pour boiling water over and allow to soak for 1 minute to help quickly remove outer skin.
- In a large pan, pour olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter and over low/medium heat saute the onions until they are nice and golden. Set aside.
- Pour the vegetable broth and wild rice and whole stems of thyme into the same pan used for the onions and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Add the white rice and continue to simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Once water has been absorbed, remove thyme stems and add in the apricots and cranberries. Combine and cook for approximately 3 minutes.
- Put in the onions and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, add pecans and stir.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 306Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 570mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 4gSugar: 20gProtein: 4g
Ellen is a busy mom of a 24-year-old son and 29-year-old daughter. She owns six blogs and is addicted to social media. She believes that it doesn’t have to be difficult to lead a healthy life. She shares simple healthy living tips to show busy women how to lead fulfilling lives. If you’d like to work together, email email@example.com to chat.