Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Drawing Down Stores: Wild Mushroom and Rice Casserole

It is amazing how buying food in bulk, drying, and preserving can catch up with you. We realized recently we were running out of room in the pantry, cupboards, and cold cellar. Time to draw down on stores, and when better than the heart of winter? The most enjoyable part is figuring out what to make out of the accumulation of things in jars, boxes, and bags.  Most recently it was a large jar of dried wild mushrooms that was hiding in the spice cupboard. Every time we had a few mushrooms left over we would slice and dry them.  Before long we had  seven ounces of chantarelles, shitakes, hedgehogs, lion's manes, morels, and so forth. That might not seem like much until you consider a pound of fresh mushrooms dries down to 3 ounces. It was a lot of mushrooms! A little Google-fu and a few options presented themselves: soups, stews, and so forth. Then I saw a wild mushroom and rice casserole.  I cannot remember when or even if we have ever made a casserole. We also had a 2 liter jar of wild rice in the pantry. before long a few random ingredients and an idea unfolded into this recipe!

Wild Mushroom and Rice Casserole

10-12 servings

7 ounces of assorted dried wild mushrooms 
in hot (but not boiling water) for 45 minutes. While the mushrooms are soaking combine:
3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
1.5 cups of wild rice
1/2 tsp of basil
1/2 tsp of thyme
12 tsp of salt 
in a medium dutch oven and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer and simmer covered for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt
1/2 cup of butter
In a medium casserole over medium-high heat on the stove top. Add
2 medium onions, finely diced
and saute until they are golden brown (about 10 minutes). Drain the mushrooms and add them to the casserole. Saute the mushrooms and onions until they are tender (about 10 minutes). Add the rice, any remaining liquid, and:
1 cup of table cream
2 cups of cooked brown rice
1/4 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp of salt
To the casserole and mix them evenly. Cover the casserole and put in the oven.  Cook in the oven for thirty minutes.  Remove it and add:
1/2 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
and serve!

Serve it with a chick pea or bean salad to make for a whole protein vegetarian meal as well. Remember to save the water the mushrooms soaked in. The make a good base for stock or pea soup.

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