It’s known to the Ojibwe people as manoomin, which translates as “good berry.” A true indigenous food for native peoples in the Upper Great Lakes regions, wild rice is a nutritious, gluten-free offering that can stand alone as a side dish or complement the flavors of soups, salads, baked goods and more. At this time of year, its hearty, nutty flavor is a natural choice for autumnal and harvest-driven menus.
Varieties and prep
Truly “wild” rice is hand-harvested from lakes and rivers in Minnesota and Canada. It costs more than the commercially grown varieties, which are cultivated in rice paddies. Many chefs choose to opt for the more authentic version, often mixing it with white and brown rice varieties for pilafs and stuffings. Even though it’s actually a type of grass, you can prepare it the same way you would any whole grain. Be sure to allow enough cooking time for the individual grains of rice to burst open slightly.
The Sioux Chef’s wild rice specialties
Interest in indigenous foods like wild rice is stronger than ever, thanks in part to the work of Sean Sherman, the creator of The Sioux Chef. The Sioux Chef serves indigenous foods through a full-service catering company, and soon, a brick-and-mortar location in Minneapolis. His new cookbook, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, was published recently, featuring indigenous Lakota wild rice specialties like griddled wild rice cakes and wild rice flatbread. The book has received glowing reviews, like this one from Foreword magazine: “There are cookbooks from which one simply cooks the recipes, and cookbooks like Chef Sherman’s, from which one learns how and why to cook.”
T. Marzetti® tip
Many wild rice salads call for an added touch of sweetness from dried fruits. Sweeter dressings will also complement its earthy flavor, so consider Marzetti® Lemon Vinaigrette, Light Raspberry Vinaigrette, Pomegranate Vinaigrette, or Wilde Raspberry Dressing with a wild rice salad.
On Your Plate blog post about The Sioux Chef
The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, by Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley
Brazilian chef Alex Atala and Sioux Chef Sean Sherman discussed indigenous foods at the Sustainable Foods Institute
Recipes from Sean Sherman
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