Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recipe for Wild Rice with Sausage and Mushrooms

Wild Rice with Sausage and Mushrooms(Updated October 2009) I'm a fan of wild rice, which is actually not rice at all, but the seed of a type of grass that grows in the U.S., Canada, and China. I've used it in dishes like Turkey and Wild Rice Soup, and it's often sold in a mix of Brown and Wild Rice. This recipe uses wild rice in a way that was different for me, where the wild rice is the main ingredient in the dish, with sausage mushrooms, and fresh thyme adding flavor. The recipe was called Thanksgiving Wild Rice on the Food Network site, where it included lots of butter that I switched for olive oil. This could certainly be served as a stuffing or side dish, but I could also enjoyed just eating a bowl of it for a quick lunch. I'm putting some of my leftovers in a 2-serving container in the freezer, and I'm guessing it will freeze well and taste great for lunch some day when I'm too busy to cook.

Wild rice isn't a quick cooking food, and if the rice you use has been sitting on the store shelf or in your pantry for a year or so it may take even longer to cook. You need to simmer it in stock until some of the rice grains start to split apart and it's soft but slightly chewy.

When the rice is nearly done, start to brown the sausage. I used Jimmy Dean 50% Less Fat Sausage, but this would be a great way to use turkey sausage as well. If you don't have low fat sausage, I'd rinse the sausage with very hot water after you brown it, then let it drain well.

Mix the cooked wild rice and sausage in a bowl, then wipe out the frying pan before you saute the onions and then the mushrooms.

Sauteing the onions with plenty of chopped fresh thyme adds a lot of flavor to this dish, but I think you could use dried thyme here with good results.

I used brown Baby Bella or crimini mushrooms, but you can use regular white mushrooms if that's what your store carries. Whichever type you use, be sure the mushrooms are well browned.

Mix the cooked onions and mushrooms into the wild rice/sausage mixture, then add 1/2 cup stock and some chopped parsley, put it in a casserole dish and cover with the lid or foil.

Bake 30-40 minutes, or until it's piping hot and most of the stock has been absorbed.

Wild Rice with Sausage and Mushrooms
(Makes about 6 generous servings, recipe adapted from Thanksgiving Wild Rice at the Food Network.)

-2/3 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
-3 cups plus 1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock, homemade or canned
-2 T olive oil or butter (or less, depending on your pan; use olive oil for South Beach diet)
-one 12 oz. pkg. ground pork sausage (I used Jimmy Dean 50% less fat pork sausage but turkey sausage would be great too)
-1 onion, finely chopped
-1 T finely chopped fresh thyme leaves (or use 1-2 tsp. dried thyme)
-12 oz crimini, shitaki or white mushrooms, stems removed and coarsely chopped
-3 T finely chopped fresh parsley
-fresh ground black pepper to taste

In saucepan combine wild rice and 3 cups stock. (Origninal recipe added salt, but I didn't think it needed it.) Bring to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until rice is tender, about 60 minutes. or longer if the rice has been stored for a while. (Edit: I cooked the wild rice at the lowest possible simmer, in a pan with a very tight fitting lid. You will probably need to check after a few minutes, and possibly add some water during the cooking time, depending on how old the wild rice is, how tight the lid is on your pan, and how low your stove burner goes.) Rice should be tender to the bite with some grains starting to break apart when it's done. Dump rice into colander and let it drain well. Begin preheating oven to 350.

In medium sized frying pan, cook sausage until it is lightly browned. (I sometimes use a potato masher to break the sausage into small pieces as it cooks.) Drain off any excess fat and add sausage to the cooked rice. (If you don't have reduced fat sausage, you can put the cooked sausage in a fine-mesh colander and rinse with very hot water to remove some of the fat.) Put drained rice and sausage into a mixing bowl.

Wipe out pan with a paper towel if there is a lot of fat, then heat 1 T olive oil or butter, add onions and cook on low until starting to turn golden, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped thyme and cook 2 minutes more. Add thyme/onion mixture to the rice.

Add more olive oil or butter to frying pan as needed, add chopped mushrooms and saute until lightly browned and all liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms to the wild rice mixture. Add the chopped parsley and 1/2 cup stock and season with black pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to glass or crockery casserole dish with a lid. Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Serve hot.

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South Beach Suggestions:
Wild rice is actually a grass seed and not really rice, and it's higher in protein, more nutritious, and lower on the glycemic index than rice. That makes it a good choice for the South Beach Diet, or any type of low-glycemic eating plan. I looked up the GI of wild rice because I didn't find anything in the South Beach Books about what phase it's for. The The South Beach Diet Good Fats, Good Carbs Guide gives it a GI rating of 18 for 1/2 cup, while The G.I. Handbook: How the Glycemic Index Works rates it with a GI of 16. Even though it's a seed and not really a grain, I'd probably eat this for phase 2 or 3.

More Recipe Ideas with Wild Rice:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Turkey and Wild Rice Soup with Cabbage, Parsley, and Sage from Kalyn's Kitchen
Brown and Wild Rice with Pine Nuts and Thyme from Kalyn's Kitchen
Brown and Wild Rice Salad with Snow Peas and Peppers from Kalyn's Kitchen
Apple Wild Rice Salad from Closet Cooking
Brown and Wild Rice from Lisa's Kitchen
Wild Rice Salad with Walnuts and Corn from French Kitchen in America
Wild Rice Soup with Porcini and Escarole from Cookthink
Creamy Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup from The Foodie Fashionista
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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More to Chew On:


  1. After this recipe had been posted for hours I realized that I had used reduced fat sausage, but I didn't put that in the recipe. I edited it as soon as I got home from school today. To those who saw it sooner, I apologize.

  2. I am going to make this for my "picky" son and husband. I think they'll love it!!!

  3. Looks great! As a native Minnesotan, we grew up with wild rice as a staple. So it wasn't until I moved 'south' that I learned that there is a huge difference between 'cultivated' wild rice (which is what's mostly found in grocery stores) and takes a long time to cook and natural wild rice (which is hard to find outside its growing areas) but cooks in just a few minutes. If you're interested, my recipe for Wild Rice Salad includes a side-by-side photo of the two kinds of wild rice.

  4. I love the idea of using this as a stuffing for Thanksgiving! This will be my first gluten-free T-giving, and I've been contemplating stuffing ideas for a few days now. Although it's not traditional, I don't think that anyone in the family will be complaining about this!

  5. Wild rice has such lovely, nutty flavor which would work so well with mushrooms. Another great dish, Kalyn! I must admit that I have never frozen cooked rice. Does the texture of the rice hold up okay?

  6. Jimmy Dean always makes things better! I'll have to give this a try because it sounds similar to a dish my mom's best friend made for our thanksgiving get togethers each year.

  7. Gracie, hope they like it!

    Alanna, I didn't know that there were two kinds. Thanks for that tip. Now I want to try the quicker-cooking type!

    Katie, it was meant as a stuffing on the Food Network site. I'm thinking a mixture of this with cornbread stuffing mix might make a good Gluten-free stuffing.

    Dara, rice freezes very well, so I'm thinking this will freeze well too.

    Chris, fun. Glad I could give a memory of Thanksgiving past!

  8. I wonder if this would taste good if I used the very lean "homemade" chicken sausages a local meat shop makes right there... they're good and spicy... so it might work?!
    looks great... will have to try this one. I need to use up all the onions my husband planted this year!

  9. Perfect dish for the winter. I love that earthy flavor that mushrooms add.
    Have you tried the brown rice medley from Trader Joes? It's my fav.
    I have also been cooking a lot with the Trader Joes chicken sweet Italian sausage. Yum.

  10. Wow! That looks so flavorful! I bet that it is very delicious. Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe. I'm craving for the mushrooms.:)

  11. I live in Minnesota and my husband picks wild rice every year. We make a similar recipe with sausage, but we also use chicken, pheasant or duck with excellent results.

  12. This sounds delicious, do you know the carb and dietary fiber count per serving? My husband is a type 1 diabetic but not on insulin so he requires usuall phase 1 levels of carbs. We've been following your blog for a while, keep it up!

  13. Demandy, sorry but I don't have that info. My wild rice has been transferred into a jar so I don't have the label any more. The little South Beach guide for foods says 18 carbs in 1/2 cup wild rice if that helps, and since mushrooms have very little carbs and sausage has none, I'm thinking it would be pretty low.

  14. I'm saving this recipe for Thanksgiving. I didn't know wild rice wasn't a rice! I love that mustard colored bowl. Great picture

  15. Oh delicious!
    Wild rice and mushroom and Jimmy Dean sausage,
    These are a few of my favorite things...."

  16. If being a grass means not being a rice, then regular rice is not rice either - it's a grass too!

    This looks delicious and I plan to make it the next time I'm on my own for dinner, maybe with spicy sausage... LOVE spicy sausage... because my husband doesn't eat mushrooms and I don't want to omit them!

  17. Kalyn, this sounds unreal. I am always looking for one-dish dinners and this one sounds like I winner. I cannot wait to make it, I just know that when I eat I am going to feel cozy and warm despite the chilly Montreal weather.

  18. Now, I never knew that wild rice wasn't actually rice. I still have things to learn!

  19. If wild rice isn't rice, that explains a lot. I don't care for rice, but do like wild rice! :)

  20. I don't use wild rice nearly often enough and this looks like a really tasty way to enjoy some.

  21. I made this last night, delicious! I did have a problem with the wild rice though. I've never made it before, so maybe I'm doing something wrong?? I started off with the 2/3cup rice and 3cups chicken stock in the pan. Brought it to a light boil, and put the lid on. Since it said it needed to cook for 60 minutes, I walked away for about 20 minutes, came back and all the liquid was gone! The rice was starting to burn to the bottom of the pan and barely any of it had popped open. So I quickly added about a cup of water and brought it back up to the light boil. Came back 10 minutes later, same thing! So in total I ended up having to cook it for about 80-90 minutes and having to add water by the 1/2 cup full every 10 minutes or so. Even when I finally took it off the burner, there still weren't many kernels open and it wasn't very soft/chewy. Any suggestions? Did I do something wrong? Even with the rice debacle; this was still an excellent dish with great flavor that I will make again...given I can figure out what I'm doing wrong with the rice! Thankyou for all the great recipes!!!

  22. Jamie, the only thing I can think of is that I cooked my rice at the lowest possible simmer, and I had a pan with a very tight fitting lid. I do think that if you ended up with rice that had been sitting on the shelf at the store for a while, it might take this long to cook though. I think I will edit the recipe to caution people they might need to check occasionally and add water, thanks!


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