My pantry is inundated with half-filled containers of random grains, flours, and meals. I’ve got pearl couscous I need to use, about a cup of quinoa left, and some semolina flour I have no idea what to do with.
Such is the life of a random foodie. I get inspired by a recipe and I just have to make it; no matter how obscue the ingredients. And my madness isn’t just self-contained to the pantry, either. My fridge also has jars of lemon curd that only had one spoonful of product taken out of it, fig jam that’s probably bad by now, and skeezy cheeses that are on the brink.
What do you do when you really want to make something, but you know you’ll probably never use one of the ingredients again? It’s food waste at its prime. I really try to balance my grocery shopping trips around what I already have, but sometimes these things slip through the cracks.
The biggest ingredient-lingerers in my household are definitey grains. I had a half-empty container of arborio rice on a back shelf for probably two years once. Wild rice is another one. In the winter, wild rice is all I can think about. As soon as the weather starts to warm up, I forget about the hearty rice blend and push it further and further toward the back of my cabinet.
I made a pork tenderloin this weekend and wanted to make some wild rice to go with it. This pilaf was the clear winner in my quest for a nice, solid wild rice side dish. It’s incredibly earthy and filling, and it paired with my robustfully flavored maple and balsamic pork tenderloin extremely well.
I toasted some slivered almonds (also another half-empty bag that’s been in my pantry for months) and tossed the pilaf all together. This is simply seasoned but it packs a really warm punch with the sweet potato, shallot, mushroom, and veggie broth flavor. The toasted almonds give it that extra layer of yum to guide you through the side.
I cooked the rice just a hair under fully-tender, because I like my wild rice a little crispy. If that makes me strange, I don’t care. I’ll gladly take the title of Weird-Wild-Rice-Eater because it tastes so much better in my opinion.
Wild Rice Pilaf with Sweet Potato & Mushrooms
Wild Rice mixed with shallot, mushrooms and sweet potato, making an enjoyable side dish.
- 1/2 cup wild rice blend
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 TBS. olive oil
- 1 TBS. butter
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- salt and pepper
- Pour rice, broth and water into a small saucepan. Cook rice according to package instructions, until tender and fluffy.
- Meanwhile, heat butter and oil in a large skillet. Add sweet potato, shallot and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes, trying NOT to stir to kind of caramelize the shallot and sweet potato. Add garlic and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.
- Heat broiler. Place almonds on a baking sheet. Toast under broiler for about 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Add rice and almonds to the skillet with the sweet potato and stir to combine. Serve.
Pour rice, broth and water into a saucepan. Cook according to package instructions until tender and fluffy. Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in a large skillet. Add sweet potato, shallot and mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes, trying not to stir so sweet potato and shallots caramelize a bit.