Being a fairly new transplant to the midwest, Wisconsin in particular, I’ve been getting used to the unique lingo here. Bubblers are water fountains, Brat Fry means the brats are grilled not fried, Chicken Booyah is a burn-your-tongue-hot chicken stew of sorts, a request for Soda will get you a pop and a request for pop will you get some seriously weird looks, and Cheeseheads are…well, everywhere. These people take their football pride very seriously.
Another term I am becoming familiar with is the almighty hot dish. That’s a casserole to we midwest foreigners. For every casserole recipe in existence, I’ve learned there is a hot dish reincarnate. And the one I’ve wanted to recreate to be healthier and less-processed is the wild rice hot dish. I, for one, had never seen a casserole quite like it and wanted to conquer one cuisine of my midwest home that didn’t have to do with brats or beer.
This particular hot dish, although belied by the long list of ingredients, comes together quickly and is thrown in a casserole dish to bake merrily for nearly two hours. Hot from the oven, the hearty wild rice is tender and plump and infused with simple but delicious flavors. The tasty crunch of almonds adorning the top of the hot dish adds a unique contrast to the hamburger and wild rice and makes an everyday casserole seem a bit special.
I served this with steamed green peas and some fresh-baked whole wheat bread and it was an incredibly satisfying meal. Hot dish heaven, so to speak.
Note: Because straight wild rice can be fairly expensive, I usually buy a packaged blend of wild and brown rice or wild and long grain rice. It is a bit cheaper and tastes delicious and hearty.
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef or lean ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 8 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken, beef or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon seasoning salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- In a small bowl, cover the wild rice with cold water and let it soak for 15 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large non-stick skillet (12-inch) over medium heat, brown the ground beef with the salt and pepper until no longer pink. Drain the grease from the meat. Transfer the meat to a paper-towel lined plate and wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Return the skillet to the stovetop and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Cook, until the onions are translucent and the most of the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir to combine. Continue stirring and cook the mixture for about 1 minute over medium heat until it is cooked and golden.
- Slowly pour in the broth and milk and whisk to incorporate. Add the seasoning salt, pepper, parsley, thyme and paprika and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
- Drain the wild rice. Stir it in to the sauce with the browned hamburger. Transfer the mixture to a lightly greased 9X13-inch baking dish.
- Cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the almonds and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the almonds are golden and toasted and the rice is tender. Serve immediately.
Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe