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Have a Rice-A-Licious Thanksgiving — All Will Be RICE With the World!

Rice is, well,…very nice! One of the USA’s major crops to be consumed and for export, it has long been central to cuisines throughout the world.  In this country six states are primarily responsible for the production of rice: Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana,California, Mississippi and Missouri. As Miss Heaven McKinley, National Rice Month 2016 Scholarship Video Contest Grand Prize Winner, can attest, rice is an incredibly valuable commodity! 

 

 


A bit of rice history….

This member of the Poaceae family, formerly called Gramineae, is that has been documented back to Asia in 2500 B.C. It has fed more people in many diverse parts of the planet than any other plant. Rice first arrived in South Carolina on a slave ship in the late 1600s, where it quickly took hold, becoming a dietary staple, and for centuries, an economic one, too. The rice that came into South Carolina is known as “Carolina Gold,” or Oryza glaberrima an (African rice).
South Carolina was the largest producer of rice in North America throughout the Colonial Period, but it began to decline after the Civil War. Although, little or no rice was grown in South Carolina by the early 20th century, the tradition of rice as a dominant food persists, reflecting their historic rice culture and tradition.

Asian rice is a different cultivar — Oryza sativa . While conventional wisdom is that rice originated in Asia and spread to the Mediterranean and Africa, there is some very recent evidence that rice might have come from Australia.

As Thanksgiving approaches there are many options to consider for the Turkey Day table, and rice dishes can hold their own — standing up to mashed potatoes, yams or macaroni and cheese! Rice stuffings are part of the culinary traditions in South Carolina’s Low Country as well as in Louisiana. John Martin Taylor cites a 1770’s recipe for “Rice Pye” by Harriett Pinckney Horry in his 1992 cookbook, Hoppin’ John’s Low Country Cooking.

Mr. Taylor updates the dish, but it is sort of a reverse-stuffing — a shell of twice-cooked rice that is filled with meat, vegetables or both.

Louisianians also have traditions for Rice Stuffing, in Talk About Good, a cookbook from the Junior League of Lafayette, Louisiana there are wonderful recipes for “Southern Rice Dressing,” “Rice Dressing Casserole,” and “Dirty Rice Dressing.” I am sure that I have only scratched the surface with these delicious dishes!

So, back to that Thanksgiving Table, especially if you are creating non-traditional menu….here are some delicious looking dishes from www.foodandwine.com.

Brown Rice with Truffle and Chives

Emily Farris
Active Time
15 MIN
Total Time
1 HR 15 MIN
Yield Serves : 6
Emily Farris November 2013

White truffle oil is a wonderful but assertive flavor, and a little goes a long way. If you’re unsure of how much truffle flavor you prefer, start with 1 teaspoon and add more to your own taste. 
Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice
3 cups vegetable stock
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons white truffle oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Get Ingredients
How to Make It
Step 1    
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 45 minutes.
Step 2    
Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Notes
If eating a gluten-free diet, be sure to use gluten-free stock.
Serve With
Roasted chicken, grilled lamb, or salmon.

Brown Rice Pilaf with Leeks and Wild Mushroom
Emily Farris
Active Time
15 MIN
Total Time
1 HR 15 MIN
Yield
Serves : 6
Emily Farris October 2013

While this recipe calls for shiitake mushrooms, you can use any combination of wild mushrooms (oyster, chanterelle, porcini, crimini, etc.), and white button mushrooms will work fine in a pinch. Slideshow: Rice Pilaf Recipes
Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium leek, white and light-green parts only, washed well and cut crosswise into thin slices
1 1/2 cups short-grain brown rice
3 cups vegetable stock
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms

How to Make It
Step 1    
In a large sauce pan, melt the butter. Add the leeks and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the stock, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Step 2    
In a skillet, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until they are browned and any residual liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir the mushrooms into the rice and serve.

Make Ahead
The mushrooms can be prepared up to one day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before combining with rice.
Notes: If eating a gluten-free diet, be sure to use gluten-free stock.
Serve With Roasted chicken, grilled lamb, or salmon.
 

Special Thanks to USA Rice, visit them at www.usarice.com and Think Rice, www.thinkrice.com