Wild rice is not really a rice at all. Wild rice is actually a grass (Zizania aquatica) that is found in the northern lake regions of the United States and parts of Canada. It was named wild rice when the settlers arrived in the New World and saw local Native Americans harvesting it from the Great Lakes and it reminded them of rice paddies.
Wild rice doesn’t resemble white or brown rice much at all. It’s longer and dark brown or black instead of white or pale brown. Cooked, it has a slightly nutty, chewy texture. Wild rice is much higher in protein, minerals and vitamins than traditional rice and although it is higher in carbs, it is lower in calories. Because wild rice is much less processed than traditional rice, it requires a longer cooking time – generally about 55 minutes until it is tender.
The nutty taste and chewy texture of wild rice is the perfect pairing for pistachios. Pistachios, the seed fruit of the Pistacia vera, were brought to the United States from Persia in the late 1800s. They are very rich in phytosterols, known for lowering blood cholesterol, and are one of the nuts with the highest levels of potassium.
You can find pistachios from Gourmet Orchards either roasted and salted, dipped in a rich dark chocolate or try their Chili Lime Pistachios that are dry roasted then seasoned with pure ground chili spice and a touch of lime. They can be purchased in half pound or one pound bags to be enjoyed straight from the bag or added to your favorite recipe.
One of my favorite ways to enjoy pistachios (besides eating them straight from the bag) is in this delicious gluten free recipe.
Wild Rice with Dried Apricots and Pistachios
7 cups water
1 cup wild rice, rinsed
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
1/3 cup Gourmet Orchard Chili Lime Pistachios, shelled, coarsely chopped
1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add wild rice, cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the grains are tender and start to split (about 55 minutes). Drain in a fine sieve.
2. Just before the wild rice is ready, heat oil in a large non stick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often for 2-3 minutes until it’s soft. Add bell pepper, garlic and cumin and cook an additional minute. Add apricots, orange juice, salt and pepper. Simmer until the apricots have plumped up and the liquid has reduced slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the wild rice. Remove from heat and stir in scallion greens. Serve topped with chopped pistachios.
This recipe is absolutely delicious. The chewy texture of the wild rice is the perfect match for the crunch of the pistachios. The slight heat from the onion and pistachios is a wonderful mix with the sweetness of the apricots and the red pepper.
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My thanks to the sponsor for allowing me to review this product.
As required by the FTC: I received a product sample in order to write my review. I received no monetary compensation. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.