I got myself an InstantPot (deeply discounted during Amazon Prime days in August), and I’ve been experimenting with it. I’ve added wild rice and legumes back into my diet after eating Paleo (grain- and legume-free) for years, because my body functions better with the extra fiber. My doctor says they act as prebiotics, feeding healthy gut microbes. I feel good!
I’m loving wild rice! It’s got a nutty taste, a pleasing chewy texture, and is a native American food full of fiber.
I’m also loving InstantPot cooking. Even people who “can’t cook” can just follow the many recipes now available and come out with good food in not much time.
I’m a jazzy cook — I like to improvise from a master recipe, which this is. A pilaf is perfect for that: it’s a traditional Middle Eastern/Indian rice dish cooked in a broth, to which you add whatever you’ve got on hand that “goes with”.
I use the InstantPot’s Sauté function to soften a chopped onion (and/or shallots) and a couple of stalks of celery in olive oil or butter or ghee. You can add chopped garlic if you like — remember, garlic scorches easily when sautéed. Wait until the onions and celery have given up some of their liquid. Add a cup of wild rice (not a blend).
Mix well, sauté for another minute, and add 3 cups of mushroom or vegetable broth. I prefer the mushroom broth.
I switch to Pressure Cook (high) and set the timer for 15 minutes, with the vent closed. When the timer goes off, I let it sit for 10 minutes and open the vent.
Then I stir the additions in while it’s hot! I like to add 1/2 cup pecan pieces, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1-2 cups roughly chopped baby spinach, 1 cup thinly sliced baby Portobella mushrooms, and 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley.
If you’re a pescatarian like me, you could add some chunks of cooked wild salmon.
Mix well. The mushrooms and spinach should wilt from the hot wild rice.
Here’s the creative part:
- Instead of pecans, try walnuts or almond slivers or pistachios.
- Instead of cranberries, add raisins — or sprinkle fresh pomegranate seeds just before serving for their gorgeous color, texture, and flavor.
- Substitute chopped kale or chard (minus thick stems) or another mild green for the spinach.
- Add any herbs you like. Sage, thyme, and rosemary would definitely work, in my opinion.
- Adding green onions at the end adds flavor and color and texture.
- To balance the sweet savoriness of the pilaf, add a bit of a good tasty vinegar, lemon juice, or dry wine (not cooking wine, usually too salty). Add by the teaspoon and taste often to avoid adding too much.
If there’s extra liquid, you can pour it off, add a tablespoon of chia seeds to thicken, or leave it soupy. You could also add corn starch to help it thicken. (Follow package directions.)
Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
I invite you to see what you have on hand, sense if it would fit well with the other ingredients, and experiment!