This is much more exciting than your bog standard rice salad! It has subtle fragrant spices from the juniper, a sweetness from the cider but is also earthy with sage and mushrooms.
Wild rice has a tougher consistency than white rice and therefore takes longer to cook but has plenty of texture. It is also a bit more expensive than normal rice but worth forking out for. Wild rice can be bought from larger supermarkets, specialist food shops and online retailers such as Suma.
This recipe requires the juniper berries to stay in the salad to infuse properly so make sure you pre-warn those who are eating it that they are there!
Ingredients (serves 4)
250g wild rice (from Suma)
250g mushrooms (any you prefer – I used chestnut mushrooms)
6 – 8 juniper berries (I also got these from Suma)
1 pint of slightly sweet cider (I used Thatcher’s Gold)
2 medium white onions
3 cloves of garlic
Handful of fresh sage
Salt and pepper
1tbsp plain flour
1 red chilli
75g flaked almonds
Wash the rice in water before putting in a high sided pan with the cider and juniper berries. Put on a medium heat on the stove and pop the lid on.
In a frying pan, fry the mushrooms, finely sliced chilli, garlic and half the sage on a low heat with a bit of oil. The rice will take about 30 minutes to cook so you have plenty of time to slowly fry the mushrooms.
After about 30 minutes, the rice should be cooked through. Have a taste – it may need a bit more cooking. Put the mushroom mixture in with the rice and keep the lid off so any remaining liquid evaporates. Turn the heat down so the rice doesn’t burn.
Fry the almonds and remaining in a bit of oil before setting aside. Then finely slice the onion as thinly as you can. Coat the sliced onions with plenty of flour and season well. Fry in a pan with hot oil until golden brown.
Once the onions are cooked and are nice and crispy, spoon the rice into serving bowls. Sprinkle the crispy onions, almonds and sage on top and enjoy warm.