Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wild Rice and Chanterelle Salad with Dried Fruit, Goat Cheese, and Walnuts

Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. Food, Friends, Family along with conversation and some great wine always make this a fun day. This year I had the chance to go to two T-day events (woo-hoo!). This rice dish that I borrowed from Portland Icon, Chef Cory Shreiber formerly of Wildwood Restaurant has become a favorite and was a dish I took to both events.

The below recipe is his with the exception of my addition of crimini mushrooms in lieu of Chantrelle's (hey, if you have access to Chantrelle's, knock yourself out and use them.......heck, go whole hog and use two pounds!).


8 cups water
2 cups wild rice
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 bay leaf
12 sprigs thyme
4 teaspoons grapeseed or canola oil
1 pounds chanterelle or portobello mushrooms or crimini, wiped clean and chopped

1/2 cup olive oil
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted and cracked
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and cracked
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 cup mixed dried fruits, such as cherries, cranberries, raisins, chopped figs, or chopped apricots
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1 pound stemmed arugula or watercress
8 ounces fresh white goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)

To prepare the rice: Wash the rice under cold water for 2 minutes. Bring 8 cups of water to a boil and add the salt, bay leaf, and thyme. Add the washed rice to the boiling water and simmer for 40 minutes, or until tender. Drain the rice and remove the bay leaf and thyme; let cool. (This can be done 1 day ahead of time and refrigerated.) You should have 7 cups cooked rice.

In a large skillet, heat the grapeseed or canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from heat, drain well, and set aside.

To make the vinaigrette: In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, shallots, fennel, cumin, thyme, and pepper and season with salt. Add the dried fruits.

In a salad bowl, combine the cooled wild rice, cooked mushrooms, and walnuts. Toss with the vinaigrette and fruits.

To serve, portion the greens on a plate, top with the rice mixture and sprinkle with the goat cheese.