A wonderful side dish, this Wild Rice Pilaf is loaded with sautéed onion, carrot, dried fruit and toasted pecans. The smoky pecans, sweet fruit and savory herbs and onion work perfectly with the wild rice combo. A sure hit, this need not only be served at holidays!
I mix cooked long grain white rice with wild rice steamed with bay leaves and thyme. This is super fluffy and even makes a complete meal if you add shredded, rotisserie chicken after it’s all cooked.
What is a Rice Pilaf?
Rice pilaf is a dish that originated from India where rice is cooked in a seasoned broth after first being sautéed in ghee, butter or oil.
For this rice pilaf I am steaming the wild rice separately. I find it works better to mix a long grain with the wild rice, but they need separate cooking times. This extra step makes all the difference. Trust.
Nobody has time for goopy, uncooked rice, am I right?
Long grain white rice is quickly sautéed with butter, onions and diced carrot. Boiling water goes in the skillet and it gets topped with the dried cranberries. Cover and steam away!
The key to this being really fluffy is to rinse the white rice prior to the sauté to remove excess starch.
Another incredible side dish that I would gladly make a complete meal out of myself.
If you enjoy the earthy, nutty flavor of wild rice, then this Wild Rice Pilaf will not disappoint. Enjoy!
Wild Rice Pilaf
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme (See Note 1)
- 1 cup wild rice rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion chopped fine (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 large carrot chopped fine (about 1 cup)
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3/4 cup pecans (See Note 2)
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley leaves minced
- Bring chicken broth, bay leaves, and 1 bundle thyme to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the rinsed wild rice, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is plump and tender and has absorbed most liquid, 40 minutes (See Note 3). Keep covered to keep warm and set aside.
- Rinse white rice in mesh strainer until water runs clear to remove excess starch and drain completely.
- Heat butter in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, 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. Add 2 1/4 cups boiling water and second thyme bundle to rice and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, sprinkle cranberries evenly over rice, and cover. Simmer until all liquid is absorbed, 18 minutes. Fluff rice with fork off heat.
- Combine wild rice, white rice mixture, pecans, and parsley in large bowl. Toss with large spoon or rubber spatula and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper if needed. Serve immediately.
- Divide fresh thyme into 2 bundles, each tied together with kitchen twine.
- Toast pecans in small dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant and lightly browned, about 6 minutes, then rough chop.
- If wild rice still has a little liquid on bottom of pan: Drain rice in mesh strainer to remove excess liquid. Return rice to now-empty saucepan. Cover to keep warm and set aside.