This is our version of the Minnesota classic, wild rice casserole. If you’re not from Minnesota, you may not know that wild rice is not an uncultivated variety of rice. Wild rice is a genetic cousin to the Asian rice species. In Minnesota the wild rice plant grows in shallow lake and stream beds; sometimes only the flowering head sticks out of the water. You could make this recipe with your favorite rice, of course, but we suggest you try the wild rice version. Bon appetit!
1 1/2 cups wild rice
1 lb. Italian sausage (mild or hot)
1 medium or large white onion, chopped coarsely
2-3 celery ribs, sliced crosswise on diagonal into 1/4-inch pieces
8 oz. package sliced mushrooms or 2 small cans sliced mushrooms, drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can Healthy Request cream of mushroom soup
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp sweet paprika
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3-4 cups boiling water
4 cups beef broth
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse wild rice with cold water several times, then drain thoroughly. Pour 3-4 cups boiling water over wild rice and set aside. Allow rice to soak until ready to assemble casserole.
Brown Italian sausage in large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until fully cooked. Break into fine crumble. Transfer sausage to a plate until ready to assemble casserole.
Saute onion and celery in same skillet or Dutch oven using oil left from the sausage or olive oil. If using the olive oil, allow oil to heat up before adding vegetables. Saute until celery tender and onion is somewhat translucent. Add sliced mushrooms and garlic; saute a few minutes more.
Drain wild rice after it has soaked for at least 20 minutes. Add drained rice to the sauted vegetable/mushroom mixture. Stir gently over heat for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the vegetable/mushroom/rice mixture into casserole dish. Add the sausage and gently blend. If using a Dutch oven, just add the sausage to the Dutch oven and gently mix.
Add enough beef broth to cover the mixture; usually requires about 4 cups of broth.
Add mushroom soup until mixture appears creamy. Add carefully; the entire can of soup may not be necessary. Stir well.
Add all the spices and blend well. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Cover and bake 1 1/2 to 2 hours at 350 degrees. Uncover near the end of the cooking time if casserole seems too runny.