Wild Rice and Mushroom Casserole
This hearty mix of wild rice, creamy white beans and aromatic vegetables (spinach, leeks, fennel and mushrooms) makes a satisfying meatless main course or a very substantial side dish for Thanksgiving — and beyond. If you want to go all out, use some exotic mushrooms such as chanterelles, maitake (hen of the woods) or black trumpet, but a basic combination of cremini and shiitake mushrooms also works perfectly.
- Serves: 12 persons
- 2 ¼cups vegetable, mushroom or chicken broth or stock
- Fine sea salt
- 1 ¼cups wild rice, rinsed
- 10tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
- 1pound sliced mushrooms, preferably a mix of different kinds
- 3leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 2fennel bulbs, trimmed and chopped
- 5ounces baby spinach (about 4 cups)
- 7fat garlic cloves (4 chopped, 3 finely grated or crushed into a paste)
- ½tablespoon tomato paste
- ⅛teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4(14-ounce) cans white beans (7 cups)
- 2tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ⅓cup chopped fresh cilantro (or basil)
- ⅓cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 ½cups panko or coarse bread crumbs
- 1tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- ⅓cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Flaky sea salt, for garnish
Step 1Taste broth; if bland, season to taste with salt. In a medium pot, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in rice, lower heat, cover and simmer until just tender, about 40 minutes or according to package directions. Fluff rice with a fork, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
Step 2Meanwhile, sauté vegetables: In a large, heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over high heat. Add half the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until brown and crispy, about 8 minutes. Adjust heat as needed to prevent burning. Transfer cooked mushrooms to a plate and sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with remaining mushrooms and another tablespoon oil, adding more oil to the skillet if it looks dry.
Step 3In the empty skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Stir in leeks, fennel and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring, until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in spinach, chopped garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and cook until garlic starts turning golden, another 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat.
Step 4Heat oven to 400 degrees, and oil a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.
Step 5In a blender, purée 2 cans beans with their liquid, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 grated garlic clove, and salt to taste. (If your beans are unsalted, they might need more than you’d think.)
Step 6Stir bean purée, remaining whole beans (drained), mushrooms, cilantro, parsley and cooked wild rice into skillet with vegetables. Taste and add more salt or lemon as needed; it should be well seasoned. Scrape into prepared baking dish.
Step 7In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs, rosemary, lemon zest, remaining 2 grated garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil and Parmesan, if using.
Step 8Sprinkle evenly on top of casserole and bake until golden, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving, topped with flaky sea salt.