What a whirlwind this winter has been! Geez! Work, school, weddings, visits with family and friends, freezing cold weather, sweaty hot weather vacation, back to work and school. And somehow it is March! And 60 degrees in Missouri, which is very, very welcome and much appreciated… but I still can’t figure out where February and January went. Do you know? They must have blown by me in a wintry blur.
Throughout the Jan-Feb blur I sustained myself on sad things like Foods Sold By Panera Bread, cereal, canned beans and frozen brown rice, kimchi and pickles delivered fork-to-mouth from the jar, and frozen Ghirardelli chocolate. YUM. My poor husband was left to fend for himself (shout out to the Whole Foods hot bar). I managed to cook a couple of times in February; here’s a recipe I chose for a day when my body was screaming at me for much-needed veggies and grains already, woman! Put down the chocolate!
BROWN WILD RICE WITH CAREMELIZED ONIONS, CREMINIS, AND GREENS
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice
- 1/3 cup uncooked wild rice
- 2 2/3 cup water or stock
- 1 tsp veggie base or bullion if using water
- 1 tbsp butter (omit for vegan recipe)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced thinly into rings or half moons
- 1 carton cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- a few sprigs thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
- 3+ garlic cloves, chopped
- half bag spinach leaves
- a few handsful broccoli, chopped
- 1 tablespoon water
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
First things first. Let’s caremelize that onion. If you are a forward-thinking person and want to caremelize a few now and freeze them for later, good for you. Great time to do so. Heat the large saucepan over medium and add the butter and olive oil. When the butter has melted, add the sliced onion(s) and give them a pinch of salt. Stir around a bit, coating with oil and butter and allowing the salt to help the onions release their sweet oniony juices and begin to breakdown. You can go on with the rest of the recipe now, but keep an eye on the onion as it browns. Stir often and don’t be afraid to adjust heat or add more oil. The goal is to have lovely, deep brown onions.
Since we’ll be here a while caremelizing onions and such, crack open a good local beer and put on some music. May I suggest:
All black everything beer can and Wu-Tang jazz? Yes, please. In a saucepan fitted with a lid, bring the stock or water and bullion to a boil. Add the rices (fun fact: wild rice is a grass seed, not a grain) and stir, then cover and simmer on medium-low for 45 minutes.
Since I had some downtime as the onions and rice cooked, I chopped the veggies (mushrooms, garlic, broccoli). When the onions are pretty brown, add the mushrooms, thyme springs and another small pinch of salt. Stir this blend around and allow the mushrooms to break down and release their liquid. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, a minute or so. The mix will smell really terrific and should look like this:
If the rice is done, take it off the heat and fluff with a fork. Add the broccoli and spinach leaves to the mushroom and onion skillet along with a tablespoon of water and cover. Let this cook until the broccoli is bright green and the spinach has wilted. When the veggies are bright and cooked, stir them all together and taste for seasoning. Now is the time to crack on some pepper- remember you’re seasoning the rice, too, so don’t worry about having a heavy hand. Remove the rice to a large bowl and pour the veggie mixture on top.
Toss it all together, taste and adjust salt if needed, and enjoy now or later at room temp. Pat yourself on the back for beginning to undo the last month’s indulgences. Polish off that beer and, if you’ve been enjoying the Chef soundtrack, you’re probably on this amazing song by now- here’s a sweet live version: