Ruby’s Chippewa Chicken, Mushrooms & Wild Rice
This recipe is the result of the massive Dole salad recall that forced me to find lots of extra time to cook this week, (and get creative about what in the world to eat!) as well as a random craving for rice and a lifelong fascination and love of all things Native American. In Algonquin, this recipe would be called Manoomin Baaka’aakwenhwaaboo. (Whoa, try pronouncing that one.) Manoomin, which translates to wild rice, means “good berry” — which makes sense since rice (of all sorts) is a tasty and much healthier alternative to pasta – and I’m trying to incorporate it into my cooking more. Although it wasn’t intentional and just happened by chance, this recipe also happens to be gluten-free; and is also very low in fat, carbs, sugar, and sodium, but very high in protein. (Did you know many people of Native American ancestry are gluten-intolerant or gluten-sensitive?) Hmmm. Anyway! This is something you can feel good about feeding your family! And I can feel good that I’m actually posting a recipe that’s NOT a dessert for once!
Savory, hot and hearty – a perfect alternative to chili for a winter or autumn day. I had chicken breast and mushrooms to use up and wanted something different. After reading a few different recipes for traditional Chippewa / Ojibwa chicken & wild rice soup, this new dish was born! It’s not very soupy at all – though you could add chicken broth, water, or something else to play with the thickness and consistency a bit.
Wild rice is to Midwest Native American dishes as potatoes are to American ones – there are a zillion different variations and ways to make this, it’s truly the potato salad of Native food.
Some recipes also add slivered almonds to the ingredient mix; as well as whipping cream, or cream of mushroom soup to create a creamier, soupier version. If you try it this way, please let me know, I’d love to see the results!
This was excellent served with a side salad and hot buttered sweet rolls; and did have just the slightest hint of an Asian-y flavor. My original recipe makes about 4 large servings; if you’re making this for more than 2 adults, I recommend doubling it. Actually, it’s delicious – so double it anyway. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave or on the stove with a bit of added water so it doesn’t dry out, and this is something that like Italian tomato sauce, almost seems to taste better the next day. This is a pretty fast one-pot meal to whip up and the unique combination of spices and flavors will fill the whole house with a lasting, lovely aroma that is sure to make you hungry if you weren’t already!
To start, grab a box of this Minute brand Multi-grain Medley rice blend from the store. (I found it at Meijer.) It is a combination of 4 grains: brown rice, red rice, wild rice, and quinoa; and tastes amazing! Of course this recipe is traditionally supposed to be made with real Minnesota wild rice which is still cultivated and sold by the the Anishinaabe people of Minnesota – the White Earth band of Ojibwa/Chippewa Indians, but that stuff is expensive and can only be purchased online or at specialty stores; and this buck-ninety-nine alternative does the trick just fine. 😉 If you’re lucky enough to live in Minnesota, near a casino gift shop that sells it, or can afford to buy organic raw wild rice that’s more per pound than a porterhouse when you figure in shipping, by all means, please go for it (and ship me a bowl after you make the recipe!!) Regular brown rice could also be substituted but the resulting flavor would definitely be a tad different. Aldi’s SimplyNature brand has some new gourmet “Ancient grains” and “Supergrains” rice & quinoa varieties that would probably work deliciously when mixed with rice, too!
If you have fresh spices on-hand, feel free to use those as well rather than jarred /dried spices like I did – just don’t overdo it! This recipe is loaded with natural flavor and doesn’t need an overload of seasonings to be delicious. Enjoy a glass of the wine you use for cooking the chicken – and taste test as you go!
Also, of course you can use any cooking sherry of your choice in this recipe – I just picked up a super cheap bottle of clearanced Flip Flop Merlot but any dry red wine would do. The wine used to cook the chicken REALLY brings out the flavor and makes this dish pop, so please don’t skip it! And if health-nut articles (and an excuse to have a glass!) are your thing, check-out this article on the healthiest red wines for health benefits. Many cultures swear by dry red wine (mainly French and Italian varieties) for health and longevity, and I’ve personally seen it in action and am a believer. (Pass the vino!) The dryest, darkest red wines containing the highest levels of polyphenol antioxidants such as procyanidin and resveratrol are linked to many cardiovascular and heart-protective benefits, as well as the prevention of certain cancers. Wooooo! If you’re a wine newbie and can’t differentiate one type from the next, you’ll love this helpful types of wine infographic and the wine sweetness chart from WineFolly too.
Wow, are we getting off-topic or WHAT?!!! Moderate consumption of red wine may be good for your blood sugar and cholesterol, but it certainly isn’t going to cure ADD! Ha! Make this already and tell me what you think!
- Minute Brand Mtulti-Grain Medley Rice (1 package - ¼ box)
- ½ Yellow Onion
- Dry Red Wine, for cooking
- ½ fresh Pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts or tenders; rinsed and cubed
- Fresh Baby Bella Mushrooms; washed & sliced (about 5)
- 2 Stalks Celery; finely chopped
- Baby Carrots; finely chopped (equal proportion/ratio of celery to carrots)
- Water chestnuts; ½ can
- ½ clove garlic, finely sliced
- Garlic Powder
- Pepper to taste
- Dill weed
- Caraway seed
- Cook 1 bag (each box contains 4 bags) of Minute brand multi-grain medley rice (wild rice, red rice, brown rice, and quinoa) in a medium saucepan according to the package directions. Set aside.
- In a separate skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray - saute the yellow onion and the fresh garlic over medium heat. No butter or oil is necessary. Add a splash of dry red wine and stir.
- Add a small amount of garlic powder and pepper. After onions begin to caramelize; add the rinsed chicken breast, which should be cut into 1 inch pieces (I used about 5 boneless skinless chicken breast tenders) and stir to coat chicken.
- Add the seasonings to the chicken and onions mixture. A pinch each of: dill weed, basil, parsley, and Caraway seed. Next add Rosemary and a bit more pepper and garlic powder (not garlic salt!) to taste. Don't add too much seasoning to this recipe! Less is more. Add a small amount, wait, then taste and add more if needed.
- Add your sliced mushrooms to the chicken mixture along with another generous splash of red wine. Continue cooking 2-3 minutes uncovered over medium-low heat until mushrooms have blended with chicken and onions.
- Cook until chicken is done, remove from heat if needed, set aside.
- Add ½ cup extra water (or more if necessary) to the stockpot containing the rice.
- Add the chicken mixture to rice mixture; stir and cook uncovered on very low heat to blend ingredients.
- Add about ½ can of water chestnuts (drained and chopped) to the chicken and rice mixture.
- Next, in the pan that had the chicken, onions and mushrooms in it, which should now be empty; add a small amount of water and increase heat to high. Do not rinse any remaining chicken juices/seasoning/wine from then pan.
- Cook the finely chopped celery and baby carrots in the water. When vegetables are tender and water is absorbed, add to chicken & rice mixture.
- Stir all ingredients together and add another few tablespoons of water to bring to desired consistency; and cook a few minutes on low to thoroughly heat all ingredients and blend flavors. Enjoy!