Sunday, November 30, 2014

Wild Rice With Mushrooms and Marsla

Marsala and mushrooms will always be a classic combination. There's a good amount of both in this pilaf to ensure maximum flavor. The smoky flavors of the wine compliment the earthy mushrooms. Herbs are a fresh finish. 

It was just the two of us for Easter this year. After church and a refreshing walk around a blue lake with our eager beagle, we enjoyed herb roasted chicken with this savory pilaf. For dessert, we had buttery, raspberry linzer cookies from this wonderful bakery in Cambridge. 

Easter is a time of rebirth and renewal. Flowers bloom, forests turn from a barren gray to lush green. There's new life everywhere. Forests make me think of mushrooms. So there you have it, the inspiration for serving wild rice pilaf at our Easter dinner.

Wild rice pilaf has been special to me ever since I worked for a brief time at a gourmet store in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The shop had a wonderful selection of cheeses  and prepared foods. Each day, the chef would prepare new dishes that hungry customers would pick up on their way home from work. I loved the taste and aroma of his wild rice pilaf. It was served on  huge platters, accented with sweet red grapes. It sold out very quickly.

If you want to replace the mushrooms in this recipe with red grapes or dried cranberries, that would be a fine idea. If you're gluten-free, keep this pilaf in mind for Thanksgiving and Christmas too. 

Wild Rice Pilaf Recipe  

Serves 4

Some Notes

I use Lundberg Farm Organic Wild Rice Blend which is blend of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, Wehani®, Black Japonica™ and select wild rice pieces. 

This blend has contrasting tastes and textures that I love in a wild rice pilaf. It's gluten free too. I think it's important to use a blend because wild rice pilaf made with just wild rice can be a bit too one dimensional.

Make this vegan by using Earth Balance in place of the butter.

Extra rice pilaf can be stored in the fridge for a day or two. During the workweek, heat and eat for whole grain, rice bowl lunches with some toasted almonds or walnuts for crunch and protein.


  • 1 cup wild rice blend, cooked according to package directions. I use Lundberg Organic Wild Blend (see notes).
  • 6 shallots, diced
  • 1 16 ounce package of whole baby bella mushrooms, sliced. 
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • olive oil for cooking the shallots 
  • sea salt or kosher salt to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • a few pinches of dried thyme or a teaspoon of  fresh thyme  
  • To Serve: freshly chopped flat leaf parsley, finely diced chives or scallions, more fresh thyme, toasted nuts  


Cook the rice according to the package directions with a bit of salt.

Meanwhile, add some olive oil to a large skillet and saute the shallots with salt, pepper and a pinch of dried thyme until soft. I use my trusty nonstick, eco-friendly Scanpan for this recipe. Once the shallots are soft, add the mushrooms, butter and a pinch more salt, pepper and thyme. Cook until the mushrooms are starting to soften and add the wine. Add a pinch more salt. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered on low heat, until the liquid has evaporated. Stir the cooked rice into the mushrooms. Freshly chopped parsley, chives, scallions and toasted nuts are serving options. Enjoy!

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