Here’s an interesting and tasty recipe that combines two of our fall favorites: wild rice and chestnuts. This satisfying dish is especially appropriate for festive holiday dinners, but it’s just as pleasing at any other time of the year. It’s inspired by a traditional Japanese rice dish, Kuri Gohan (literally, rice with chestnuts), but with a twist. North American wild rice adds a wonderfully chewy texture and nutty-woodsy flavor that harmonizes with the sweet chestnuts and toasted sesame seeds. While it makes a great side dish for any entree, it also works very nicely as a stuffing for a whole roasting chicken or small turkey.
If you’re entertaining a crowd, just double the recipe and don’t worry about leftovers – this delicious rice dish reheats exceptionally well.
- 1 cup wild rice, rinsed well
- 1 cup Jasmine rice, or other long-grain rice
- Water for cooking the rice
- 15-20 chestnuts, fresh, frozen or ready-to-eat
- ½ Tbsp soy sauce
- ½ Tbsp sake (Japanese rice wine – optional)
- pinch of sea salt, plus additional for serving
- Black sesame seeds
(Note: If using frozen or ready-to-eat chestnuts, skip to the next step)
Cut an X or a slit into the flat side of each chestnut.
Drop the chestnuts into a large pot of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes.
Drain the chestnuts and wrap them in a kitchen towel. Place the towel with the chestnuts into a large ziploc plastic bag. Close tightly and let the chestnuts rest and steam for about 10 minutes, or until they are just cool enough to handle.
Peel the outer shell and inner papery brown husk from the chestnuts. Slice each peeled chestnut in half and set aside.
Bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil and add the rinsed wild rice. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer about 45 minutes, till the grains become tender and “pop” with some white showing through the dark grains. Drain well and set aside.
Rinse the rice in several changes of water.
Place the rice, 1 ½ cups of water, sliced chestnuts, soy sauce, sake and salt into a heavy quart pan with a tight-fitting cover. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat and continue cooking for 20 minutes (resist the urge to peek).
Remove the pan from heat and allow to stand undisturbed for 10 minutes before removing the cover.
Gently fold the wild rice into the jasmine rice and chestnuts. Place in a large dish and serve while hot. Garnish with a sprinkling of black sesame seeds and a sea salt.
(Hint: This rice dish re-heats very well, so make enough for leftovers!)
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