Thursday, April 7, 2011

Heidi Swanson's Wild Rice Casserole


My best friend, his husband, yours truly and my husband are going to sit down for dinner tomorrow night. I'm really looking forward to our dinner party. The "Pappies" (as my best friend and his husband have been called for years) have busy schedules and I'm usually homebound by 8 p.m. due to Otis's sleep schedule. The solution: some advanced planning for dinner at our place. So the pressure is on! What will I cook? 
I'm thinking the menu should be delicious, flavorful and light-- nothing too heavy. I want my guests to leave feeling sated, but not overstuffed. I need whole and natural foods...stat! 
Then my doorbell rang. I was elated to see that the delivery was my new, pre-ordered copy of Heidi Swanson's (of 101 Cookbooks fame) cookbook Super Natural Every Day. “Fantastic!” I thought to myself. The delivery came at the perfect time.
In an effort to have dinner ready at a sane hour, I decided to prep ahead of time. The recipe was straightforward and the prep was seamless. The dish looked and smelled so good that I had to have a taste. Yes, just a little taste. It was so good. I almost ate the whole damn pan (before the company arrived). I loved the combination of wild rice, cremini mushrooms, mustard, thyme (or tarragon) and cheese. There isn't too much dairy, just the right amount. It's very subtle.  
If this is any indication of how delicious the rest of the recipes will be then I'm really excited...and hungry. 



Wild Rice Casserole (Courtesy of Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson)
Ingredients
2 large eggs
1 cup/ 8 oz cottage cheese
1/2 cup/ 4 oz sour cream
1 teaspoon Dijon-style or whole grain mustard
Fine-grain sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
8 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 cups cooked wild rice (see below for cooking instructions), at room temperature
1/3 cup/ 0.5 oz freshly grated Gruyere cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or thyme
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F with a rack in the top third of the oven.  Rub a medium-large baking dish with a bit of butter or olive oil.  (I used a 9 x 13-inch dish.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cottage cheese, sour cream, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
In a large skillet over high heat, combine the olive oil with a couple pinches of salt.  Stir in the mushrooms.  After the initial stirring, leave the mushrooms alone until they release their water and the water evaporates, about 5 minutes.  Continue to cook and stir every couple of minutes until the mushrooms are browned.
Add the onion and cook until the onion is translucent, another 2 or 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, cook for another minute, and remove from the heat.  Add the rice to the skillet and stir until combined.
Add the rice mixture to the cottage cheese mixture, stir well until combined and turn into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with two-thirds of the grated cheese and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the casserole takes on a lot of color.  
The finished casserole should be hot throughout and golden along the edges.  Serve sprinkled with the chopped tarragon or thyme and the remaining grated cheese.


Cooking Wild Rice: Use a ratio of 1 part wild rice to 3 parts water, plus a good dose of salt. {2 cups dry will yield 6 1/2 cups cooked. I make 2 casseroles at a time.} Bring water, salt and rice to a boil and then simmer for about 50 minutes.  All of the water should have been absorbed and most of the rice grains should have split open.  
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5 comments:

  1. Oh me, oh my! This was awesome! I was hosting a dinner and didn't want to give the vegetarian guests a pasta entree and so I made this instead. Poor vegetarians. Us carnivores practically devoured the whole pan. Thanx for posting. You photos are beautiful.

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  2. This is fantastic. Another great Heidi recipes-- thanks for introducing it to me.

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  3. So glad you liked it, though it's not my original creation :) Isn't it addictive? Now you got me thinking...I may have to make it tonight!

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  4. I borrowed Super Natural Every Day from the library a few weeks ago and made this recipe...I too was blown away with its deliciousness! I am glad you posted it since the book (and the recipe) have since returned to the library! Thank you!

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    1. Hi Kiley, So glad you got the cookbook and made it. Heidi really is something! BTW< the library is THE BEST place for cookbooks. This week I took out Sweet Magnolia, Bouchon Bakery and Dirt Candy. I test them out by making a few recipes. Then I'll buy them as a special gift if I feel like I can't live without them....Super Natural Every Day is one such book :) Happy cooking!

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