Wow! Just thinking back to our first Great 8 dinner makes me smile. I remember the beautiful invitation so well…including the menu listing all of the delicious flavors we’d look forward to having that evening. Wild Rice with Mushrooms was what Anna and Vince had chosen for me to bring! “Oh yay,” I thought! I couldn’t have been happier!
The chewiness of wild rice, is something I have always loved…and combined with the earthy flavors of mushrooms…oh my gosh, I couldn’t wait to find the perfect recipe! None of us knew that this dinner with new friends back in 1998, was going to be the start of something so Gr8!
In a medium saucepan, bring 3-3/4 cups of water to a boil. Add the rice, 1-1/8 teaspoons salt and the bay leaf.
Stir once. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until rice is liquid has cooked down and rice is tender, but chewy, about 40 minutes.
Drain. Discard bay leaf. (See Gr8 Do-Ahead Tip below.)
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet.
Add the next 5 ingredients (onion through thyme).
Add the softened, chopped porcini mushrooms and sauté for 7 minutes until softer and cooked through.
Add sliced mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5-7minutes.
Through a fine mesh sieve, drain and keep the reserved soaking liquid. Discard the sediment that has collected at the bottom
Add the rinsed rice and the reserved porcini soaking liquid to the skillet.
Simmer for about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed but the mixture is still moist.
Gr8 Do-Ahead Tip:
Both porcini mushrooms and the rice can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover porcini, soaking liquid and rice separately and refrigerate.