Wild and Tame Rice with Chestnuts
Here's a recipe that is not only great for the holidays, but is just as pleasing and satisfying at any time of the year. It's inspired by a traditional Japanese rice dish, Kuri Gohan (literally, rice with chestnuts), but with the addition of North American wild rice. The nutty flavor and chewy texture of wild rice really adds a new dimension to the dish. While it makes a wonderful side dish with just about any meal, it would also work very well as a stuffing for turkey or a roasting chicken.
If you're entertaining a crowd, just double the recipe up and don't worry about leftovers - this delicious rice dish re-heats exceptionally well.
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.
(Hint: This rice dish re-heats very well, so make enough for leftovers!)