After having a wild rice bowl at a local restaurant I told my P.S. they’d be easy to make at home. I wouldn’t have any problem chopping and layering a great grain bowl. P.S. (Patient Spouse) was interested in the idea since he hadn’t ordered the bowl. He’s more of a rice blend person than I am and was looking longingly at my meal. Later I looked up ideas online to see what combinations looked best to make it a meal dish.
While I didn’t follow any particular recipe for the salad, I did find an excellent dressing on a blog called Eating Bird Food. The dressing was used in a chopped brussels sprouts salad that sounded really good. I’ll have to remember to make that sometime soon!
I wanted to have boozy berries ready for the salads. I used a pint canning jar and added 1/2 cup dried cranberries (you could also use dried cherries or blueberries). I poured in enough bourbon to cover the berries. I used Maker’s Mark; use whatever bourbon floats your boat. I screwed on the lid and shook well. It is called macerating. I had to ask my P.S. for the word, it would not come to me. Probably because I rarely macerate.
Over the next day or two I shook the jar a few times to mix the berries and make sure everyone was getting boozed up. This will be enough berries for 4 rice bowls. Or two rice bowls if you want to really, really enjoy those berries and a buzz. If not, refrigerate the remaining berries in the jar for future use.
There are several ways to cook wild rice. I make it the same way as I cook my long grain white rice: I bring water to a boil in a saucepan, rinse the wild rice in a fine mesh colander and add it to the boiling water. I use 1:4 as my wild rice to water ratio. One cup of wild rice to 4 cups of water. Or adjust according to how much wild rice is needed. One cup of dried wild rice usually makes 2 cups of cooked rice.
When the rice is added to the saucepan and the water is again boiling, I reduce the heat to simmer and put a lid on the saucepan. I set a timer for 40 minutes and let it cook, without removing the cover. Perfect wild rice every time! Or use whatever method works for you, I don’t demand that you use my method.
In a separate saucepan I measured a cup of white long grain rice and 2 cups of water. I added 1/2 teaspoon of salt and brought it to a boil. Again I put a lid on the pot and reduced the heat to low. I let it simmer for 20 minutes.
When the races were both done I stirred them together.
Earlier I’d forgotten to thaw my chicken so I put the boneless, skinless breasts into a zippered bag and set them in a container of cold water. They thawed amazingly fast, in about 2 hours. I simply separated them, placed them in a baking pan and sprinkled an herb and garlic powder on them. Simple salt, pepper and garlic would also be good as seasoning.
I baked the breasts in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, removed them from the oven and let them cool enough to handle.
While the chicken cooled I diced a cucumber into 3/4″ pieces and set them aside. They were hydroponic cukes so I left the peel on. I also chopped some green onions and some cherry tomatoes. I cut the tomatoes into quarters as they were fairly large..
I diced the the warm breasts into about 3/4″ pieces.
I made the candied pecans awhile back using a recipe I’d found was very easy. Here is my link for bourbon candied pecans if you want to use my method. Again, if you have a preferred method for making boozy candied pecans, go for it! They are to die for, and make a salad or rice bowl in this case, just pop! You could also just sprinkle any kind of nuts on the rice bowl, if you’d rather save time or avoid alcohol.
I had baby spinach in the fridge and decided to use that for the rice bowl. The restaurant had used a spring greens mixture which was also excellent. Use whatever greens suit you, it’s a very adaptable dish. I think a nice handful of arugula would be good too! I layered the baby spinach into the bottom of the bowls and put the warm rice mixture on top.
I added the chicken, cucumbers and green onion.
I sprinkled on plenty of bourbon cranberries and bourbon candied pecans.
I topped the wild rice grain bowls with a handful of cherry tomatoes then drizzled dressing all over. Oh this was looking SO good, I was getting pretty excited to dig in!
Was it good? Of course! I pat my back and say it was even better than the wild rice bowl at the restaurant. The dressing was lovely, tying all of the chicken and rice and vegetable flavors together. Not to mention the cranberries and candied pecans that popped and crunched in our mouths. I think if I prepared more of it ahead of time it would be a fast meal on weekdays.
Wild Rice Protein Bowl
Warm rice and chicken layered with cold greens and veggies with surprise pops of flavor, all in one bowl.
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (cherries or blueberries also work well)
- Bourbon to cover berries
- bourbon candied pecans (see link for recipe or any nuts to taste)
- 1 cup wild rice; yields 2 cups cooked rice
- 1 cup white rice; yields 2 cups cooked rice
- 2 chicken breasts
- salt, pepper and garlic seasoning (I used Grill Mates by McCormick)
- diced cucumber
- cherry tomatoes; halved or quartered
- green onions or red onions to taste; diced
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper or to taste
- 4 cups baby spinach, spring greens or arugula
Candy pecans and marinate cranberries days ahead of time.
Cook rice in separate saucepans if salted water according to package directions.
Season and roast chicken breasts. Dice into 3/4″ pieces.
Dice cucumbers into 3/4″ pieces.
Dice green onions or red onions.
Cut cherry tomatoes into halves or quarters, depending on size preference.
.Add apple cider vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, garlic, sea salt and black pepper to a mason jar, cover with lid and shake. Taste test and add more salt and pepper as desired. Set aside.
In bowl layer greens. Top with mixture of warm white and wild rice. Add warm chicken, cucumbers, onions, cranberries and candied pecans. Top with cherry tomatoes.
Drizzle on dressing and serve.
Note: this is a partially warm dish. It’s best served when the rice and chicken are warm.