I’ve always likened myself to wild rice. We are both tough and hearty, homegrown Manitobans that take a long time to open up, lol. This dish is my soul food. My Grandpa Hemminger, who was an amazing cook and bread baker would make this for us on Sundays. I can still picture myself at his table with my family.
My Dad brings me boxes of wild rice whenever he comes to visit from Flin Flon, Manitoba. I never realized how lucky I was to have it until I went to purchase some for myself, wow, it’s not cheap! At least not here in Calgary. I did find some from Manitoba that you can buy online that is reasonable at https://www.wildmanricing.ca/organically-certified-wild-rice/ and it’s organic. Keep in mind that 1 cup of rice will turn into 3-4 cups once cooked.
Wild rice also has a lot of health benefits compared to other rices. It’s very high in fibre and protein. Not to mention it is nutritionally superior to other grains and is considerably high in manganese, niacin, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, folic acid, iron and potassium. So I guess it’s true, you really do get what you pay for!
Wild Rice and Bacon Casserole (serves 4 people, with leftovers) takes 2.5 hours (2 hours to simmer)
- 8 slices of thick cut bacon, diced (I like Harvest)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium green pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 680ml can tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cup wild rice
- 4+ cups water
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 Tablespoon chicken paste, I use Better than Bouillon, or substitute the water for chicken stock
- salt & pepper
- splash of milk
In a heavy bottomed saucepan over high heat, brown the bacon. While you are waiting for the bacon to brown, prep your veggies, starting with the onion and garlic. Once the bacon is brown, turn the heat down to medium and sauté the onion and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms, cook for another 5 minutes, Add the paprika and stir for a minute, then add the tomato sauce, reduce the heat a bit if it starts to splash. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Then add the water, rice, green pepper and chicken paste. Turn the heat back up until it just starts to bubble, then immediately turn the heat down to medium low. Place a lid on, but don’t completely cover it. Simmer and stir occasionally for 1-2 hours. Finish with a splash of milk, it helps cut the acidity of the tomatoes. The time will vary depending on the temperature you are using. I had my heat more on low and it took 2.5 hours. I prefer the rice a bit chewier and not opened up all the way.